5 doctors weighed in:

Will docs only diagnose cerebral palsy when there are definitive findings on mri? What clinical signs might they use instead?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Simmons
Pediatrics - Neurology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Clinical diagnosis

CP is clasically defined as a motor disorder with no effect on cognition.
The primary types are spastic diplegia (weakness and spasticity in both legs), spastic hemiplegia (one side of the body), triplegia (three extremities involved), and quadriplegia. An MRI is often helpful when making the diagnosis, but it is not always necessary. A good history and exam is usually sufficient.

In brief: Clinical diagnosis

CP is clasically defined as a motor disorder with no effect on cognition.
The primary types are spastic diplegia (weakness and spasticity in both legs), spastic hemiplegia (one side of the body), triplegia (three extremities involved), and quadriplegia. An MRI is often helpful when making the diagnosis, but it is not always necessary. A good history and exam is usually sufficient.
Dr. Richard Simmons
Dr. Richard Simmons
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Dr. Albert Pizzo
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Cerebral palsy

Doctors have diagnosed cerebral palsy for a great many years before the MRI was invented.
There are numerous signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy and your physician can discuss this with you concerning the individual in question.

In brief: Cerebral palsy

Doctors have diagnosed cerebral palsy for a great many years before the MRI was invented.
There are numerous signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy and your physician can discuss this with you concerning the individual in question.
Dr. Albert Pizzo
Dr. Albert Pizzo
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1 comment
Dr. Richard Simmons
With a classic history and straightforward clinical presentation, MRI is not necessary. Many of these children can have normal MRI's despite a history and clinical presentation consistent with CP. MRI is a tool, not a clinical decision-maker.
Dr. William Singer
Pediatrics - Neurology

In brief: No

doctors will make the diagnosis of cerebral palsy based on clinical signs including spasticity, hyperactive reflexes, limitation of passive movement at joints.
An abnormal MRI is not necessary for the diagnosis

In brief: No

doctors will make the diagnosis of cerebral palsy based on clinical signs including spasticity, hyperactive reflexes, limitation of passive movement at joints.
An abnormal MRI is not necessary for the diagnosis
Dr. William Singer
Dr. William Singer
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