May also be called: Chondrodysplasia, Chondrodystrophia
Chondrodystrophy (kon-dro-DIS-trah-fee) is a general term that refers to a disorder that interferes with the body's normal development of cartilage. This leads to abnormal skeletal growth and formation.
During a baby's development in the womb, much of the skeleton is made up of a tough, flexible tissue called cartilage. Normally, cartilage is converted to bone by a process called ossification. With chondrodystrophy, the body has a problem growing cartilage and converting it to bone, especially in the long bones of the arms and legs.
Many people with chondrodystrophy have normal-sized trunks, but short limbs and short stature. Chondrodystrophy also can cause knock-knees, bow-leggedness, or excessive curving of the lower back (lordosis or kyphosis).
Chondrodystophies happen because of a mutation in a gene that develops and maintains bone and brain tissue. These mutation occurs before a baby is born. One type of chondrodystrophy, achondroplasia, is the most common cause of dwarfism. Chondrodystrophy can be inherited from a parent or can be caused by a random gene mutation.
There is no specific treatment for chondrodystrophy, but treatment may be necessary if it leads to complications like hydrocephalus, obesity, or spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal).
There is no cure for chondrodystrophy, but the symptoms are typically only physical and do not affect intellectual ability or life span.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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