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Pediatr Neurol. 2004 Sep;31(3):172-6.

Magnetic resonance imaging in 122 children with spastic cerebral palsy.

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  • 1Department of Paediatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China.


The interrelationship between magnetic resonance imaging findings, types of cerebral palsy, and gestation was studied. We analyzed the magnetic resonance imaging of brain in 122 children with spastic cerebral palsy. Forty-three patients had spastic hemiplegia, 61 had spastic diplegia, and 18 had spastic tetraplegia. Magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities were observed in 75% of patients. Periventricular leukomalacia accounted for 66% of abnormalities observed in patients with spastic diplegia; other types of brain lesions were uncommon. In patients with spastic tetraplegia, two types of magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities predominated: congenital brain anomalies and term-type brain injuries, 42% and 33% respectively. Types of magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities were more heterogeneous in patients with spastic hemiplegia. Preterm brain injuries (periventricular leukomalacia and posthemorrhagic porencephaly) were observed often in patients born at preterm but were also observed in patients born at term. Term-type brain injuries (term-type border-zone infarct, basal ganglia-thalamic lesion, subcortical leukomalacia, and multicystic encephalomalacia) were observed only in patients born at or near term. We conclude that magnetic resonance imaging findings for patients with spastic cerebral palsy were closely related to types of cerebral palsy and gestation at birth. Magnetic resonance imaging in patients with perinatal brain injury may reflect pathologic changes and is useful in understanding and evaluating cerebral palsy.

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