AskDefine | Define hemiplegia

Dictionary Definition

hemiplegia n : paralysis of one side of the body [syn: unilateral paralysis]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Total or partial inability to move one side of the body.
    I call the series Dubliners to betray the soul of that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city. - James Joyce, August 1904

Extensive Definition

Hemiplegia is a condition where there is paralysis of one half of a patient's body. Hemiplegia is more severe than hemiparesis, wherein one half of the body is weakened but not paralysed.


It can be congenital (occurring before, during, or soon after birth) or acquired (as from illness or stroke).
It is usually the result of a stroke, although disease processes affecting the spinal cord and other diseases affecting the hemispheres are equally capable of producing this clinical state. Hemiplegia can be a more serious consequence of stroke than spasticity.
Cerebral palsy can also affect one hemisphere, resulting in limited function. This does not cause paralysis but instead causes spasms. Cerebral palsy where this is the only symptom is often referred just as hemiplegia.
Other causes include Type 2 diabetes mellitus, which can lead to transient hemiplegia, a type of spinal injury called Brown-Sequard syndrome, and injections of local anaesthetic given intra-arterially rapidly, instead of given in a nerve branch.
Lesions in the posterior limb of the internal capsule can also lead to hemiplegia.

Hemiplegic migraine

Hemiplegic migraine is a form of migraine during which the person will experience the feeling of numbness on one side of their body. This feeling will usually pass within 2-12 hours. Oliver Sacks writes well on this subject in his book 'Migraine'.


External links

hemiplegia in Arabic: فالج
hemiplegia in Spanish: Hemiplejía
hemiplegia in French: Hémiplégie
hemiplegia in Dutch: Hemiplegie
hemiplegia in Japanese: 片麻痺
hemiplegia in Polish: Porażenie połowicze
hemiplegia in Portuguese: Hemiplegia
hemiplegia in Russian: Гемиплегия
hemiplegia in Finnish: Toispuolihalvaus
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