Topographical classification describes body parts affected. The words are a combination of phrases combined for one single meaning. When used with Motor Function classification, it provides a description of how and where a child is affected by cerebral palsy. This is useful in ascertaining treatment protocol.
Two terms are at the heart of this classification method.
Paresis means weakened
Plegia/Plegic means paralyzed
The prefixes and root words are combined to yield the topographical classifications commonly used in practice today.
Monoplegia/monoparesis means only one limb is affected. It is believed this may be a form of hemiplegia/hemiparesis where one limb is significantly impaired.
Diplegia/diparesis usually indicates the legs are affected more than the arms; primarily affects the lower body.
Hemiplegia/hemiparesis indicates the arm and leg on one side of the body is affected.
Paraplegia/paraparesis means the lower half of the body, including both legs, are affected.
Triplegia/triparesis indicates three limbs are affected. This could be both arms and a leg, or both legs and an arm. Or, it could refer to one upper and one lower extremity and the face.
Double hemiplegia/double hemiparesis indicates all four limbs are involved, but one side of the body is more affected than the other.
Tetraplegia/tetraparesis indicates that all four limbs are involved, but three limbs are more affected than the fourth.
Quadriplegia/quadriparesis means that all four limbs are involved.
Pentaplegia/pentaparesismeans all four limbs are involved, with neck and head paralysis often accompanied by eating and breathing complications.
Information adapted from http://cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/types/