Sunday, December 5

Polymelia: What is It, Its Causes, Signs and Symptoms, and Treatment

Polymelia is a rare condition that causes individuals to grow more than the usual number of limbs during the time of birth. Due to the congenital birth defect, an individual may have an extra limb with an unusual shape. From genetics to exposure to chemicals during pregnancy, there could be several reasons behind Polymelia. However, the defect can be diagnosed, prevented, and treated. 

A rare birth defect, Polymelia may also be in the form of dipygus deformity, which is a condition where body axis forks are duplicated. People with the condition can have multiple legs or pelvises. Although polymelia is rare in humans, it still is a birth defect. 

Types of Polymelia

Depending on the position of extra limbs, the birth defect can be classified into different types. They include:

  • Notomelia: It is a condition where the extra limb is attached to the backbone 
  • Cephalomelia: In this, the extra limb is attached to the head
  • Thoracomedia: Here, the thorax has the extra limb
  • Pyromelia: Individuals with Pyromelia has an extra limb attached to the pelvis

Cause of Polymelia

The birth defect can be caused by genetic as well as external factors. When one or more genes undergo a change, some of their parts may be missing; this leads to the improper division of cells, which results in polymelia.

In the case of external factors behind the condition, exposure to chemicals and other infectious agents during the pregnancy can lead to polymelia. 

Signs and Symptoms of Polymelia

One of the most obvious ways to know about the condition is after birth. Here, a baby will have more than the usual number of limbs. Apart from the apparent sign and symptoms of Polymelia, the defect can be diagnosed prior to birth. 

Prenatal screening is an effective way to identify a rare birth defect. The screening gives time to take the necessary actions against the defect.  Apart from that, there are some diagnostic strategies that make it possible to know the defect. They include fetal ultrasonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Crucial Information Impacting Diagnosis. 

During the tests, various things are considered, such as maternal history.  

Prevention and Treatment for Polymelia

In addition to diagnosis, the rare birth defect can be prevented and treated. Through prenatal screening, it can be identified. Once diagnosed, proper medical help prevents the situation where the baby is born with an extra limb. 

Apart from that, if an individual has a defect, it can be treated through surgery. During the procedure, the extra limb is carefully removed. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Here, surgeons ensure that they do not hurt the other limbs and their internal working. Successful surgery can change an individual’s life. On the other hand, the procedure sometimes leads to permanent disability. 

Helpful Health Tips

  • Have regular health checkups: During pregnancy, it is necessary to visit a doctor regularly and have routine check-ups. One must ensure that they don’t miss the appointments with their doctors. Apart from that, it is essential to follow the instructions given by the expert.
  • Know about diseases during pregnancy: There could be some diseases and conditions that affect pregnant ladies and their babies. It is essential to collect information about them and stay updated.
  • Avoid consanguineous marriage: This may be controversial but marrying close relatives increases the chances of Polymelia.

In the End

Although Polymelia is a rare birth defect, it can happen to anyone. A pregnant mother should remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to ensure that her baby is safe, even before it is born.

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