Topographical Classification of Cerebral Palsy

The topographical classification of cerebral palsy (CP) is used to describe the body parts that are affected by the condition. Doctors commonly use this terminology to diagnose and explain where motor difficulties take place on the body. 

Key terms

Each topographical classification includes a prefix that shows the number of areas affected, and a suffix that shows the severity of the effects (1). 

The key prefixes are:

  • Mono: One.
  • Di: Two.
  • Tri: Three.
  • Quadri: Four.
  • Penta: Five.
  • Hemi: Half.

The key suffixes are:

  • Plegia: Paralyzed.
  • Paresis: Weakened.

Topographical classifications

The resulting topographical classifications of cerebral palsy are as follows (1):

MONOPLEGIA/MONOPARESIS: One limb is affected.

DIPLEGIA/DIPARESIS: Two limbs are affected. Diplegia/diparesis more often affects the legs than the arms.

TRIPLEGIA/TRIPARESIS: Some combination of three limbs are affected. Sometimes this means one arm, one leg, and the face are affected.

HEMIPLEGIA/HEMIPARESIS: The arm and leg on one side of the body are affected. 

DOUBLE HEMIPLEGIA/DOUBLE HEMIPARESIS: All four limbs are affected, but one side of the body is affected moreso.

TETRAPLEGIA/TETRAPARESIS: All four limbs are affected, but three limbs are affected more severely than the fourth.

PARAPLEGIA/PARAPARESIS: The lower half of the body as a whole is affected.

QUADRIPLEGIA/QUADRIPARESIS: All four limbs are affected.

PENTAPLEGIA/PENTAPARESIS: All four limbs and the head and neck region are affected.

Legal Help For Cerebral Palsy

If your baby suffered any birth complications, including the ones listed above, and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, please contact our team of birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers. For decades, we have been helping families whose children have cerebral palsy. We have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and we will fight to obtain the compensation you and your family deserve. We will evaluate your case to determine if your newborn suffered injuries due to the negligence of the physician or medical staff, and you never pay any money until we win your case.

“Reiter and Walsh goes above and beyond the norm in getting their clients the best possible results. Each client is treated with respect and compassion, and they are truly sensitive to what it means to help a family whose child has been injured.”

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Related Resources:


  1. Types of Cerebral Palsy. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2019, from