Hemihypertrophy

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Hemihypertrophy occurs when there is overgrowth on only one side of the body. This growth can be anywhere from the face to the arms to the legs, and can occur on its own (isolated hemihypertrophy) or be the result of another disease. Since this disease can occur in different places of the body, there is a wide range of side effects. Anything from feeding problems due to a large tongue, to uneven leg length, to large abdominal organs on one side of the body (like the kidney, liver, etc) can take place. Hemihypertrophy can also result in the growth of tumors that begin in the fetal tissue. Studies have also shown that hemihypertrophy can lead to a greater risk of cancers in childhood.

This disease is caused by a change in the genes while the mother is still pregnant. Nothing can be done to prevent hemihypertrophy, and it is not hereditary (meaning a parent doesn’t pass it on to their child). Most of the effects of this disease decrease over time, and once an individual grows out of childhood, the risk for cancer is significantly lowered. Children born with hemihypertrophy are able to live long full lives. Treatment is different for each person with this disease. It can involve surgery, cancer treatments, or feeding assistance depending where the hypertrophy occurs in the body.

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