Congenital Amputation

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Congenital amputation is a condition where a person is born without a limb or portion of a limb. About one in 2,000 babies are born with congenital amputation each year. The condition is often caused by amniotic band syndrome, which occurs when a free floating piece of amniotic sac tissue becomes entangled with a baby’s developing limb, cutting-off the blood supply and halting development. Amnion ruptures, a condition where the internal amniotic sac becomes separated from the outer portion, contribute to free-floating tissues. Certain drugs, radiation exposure, infections, trauma and metabolic disorders have all been associated with amnion ruptures, which may lead to congenital amputation. However, the exact causes of most cases cannot be exactly pinpointed. Prosthetics can help people with the condition regain a more normalized limb appearance and function, but many physicians recommend not fitting children with prosthesis immediately to allow them to learn to function independently of aids, and to build self-confidence. Children with congenital amputation are usually not affected by any other disabilities and are often very resourceful in compensating for their underdeveloped limb, with many being able to fully participate in most activities. The support and encouragement of loved ones, friends and care-givers is important to help children with this condition feel accepted and build confidence.

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