Limb differences occur congenitally (collectively known as Dysmelia) or can be acquired due to accident or illness. Limb differences result in an individual having a limb that may appear or function differently to an ‘A-Typical’ limb. These conditions can impact fingers/toes or amputation of a whole limb.
This is an umbrella term for what is seen as a group of ‘rare diseases’ with only 6-8 in 10,000 children being born with a limb difference per year. There are over 50 conditions that can result in a congenital limb difference some of which are genetic, environmental or pharmaceutical whereas others are due to isolated complications during foetal development. A number of different terms are used to describe a congenital limb difference including ‘Congenital Limb Reduction’ or ‘Congenital Limb Deficiency’.
There is often no known cause for Dysmelia when diagnosed either during ultrasounds or after birth.
Acquired limb difference
This term refers to an individual who has had an amputation to remove all or part of a limb due to either accident/injury or illness.