Paraplegia is most often a result of a traumatic injury to the spinal cord nervous tissue or the resulting inflammation and swelling that occurs around the point of injury.
Paraplegia can also be caused by non-traumatic and congenital factors such as spinal tumors, scoliosis, or spina bifida.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the bones that make up the structure surrounding the spinal cord. Spina bifida is a birth defect in which parts of bones that make up the structure surrounding the spinal cord do not come together properly.
Spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia are known as either "complete" or "incomplete".
For a "complete" injury, no level of feeling or function exists for the patient below the point of injury. An "incomplete" injury results in the patient retaining some level or feeling or function below the point of injury.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011