About Dysmelia


About DysmeliaDysmelia is an umbrella term for all types of congenital limb differences.  Dysmelia is also known as Congenital Limb Reduction or Congenital Limb Deficiency.  The term Dysmelia is more commonly used in Europe. 

There are many dysmelic Conditions depending on whether it is an upper or lower limb deficiency and whether there are other complications involved.  All dysmelic conditions are rare. 

There are a variety of causes of Dysmelia.  Some are genetic in origin, some conditions are the result of pharmaceutical or environmental damage - such as thalidomide or exposure to radiation.  Others are isolated causes during fetal development such as amniotic band syndrome or Poland Syndrome. 

Famous Dysmelics include: Italian dancer, Simona Atzori; Motivational speaker Nick Vujovic; American pilot, Jessica Cox; Paralympian Hungarian swimmer, Dora Pasztory, British artist, Alison Lapper, German singer Thomas Quasthoff, British actor Mat Fraser, American media icon, Bree Walker. 

Many people with limb differences go on to live extremely fulfilling and independent lives if they have the right support.  Some people find using a prosthetic helps in their daily lives, while others find a prosthetic cumbersome.

Further Reading


You may find reference to these publications of value in understanding more about the science behind congential limb reduction defects:

Beyond Thalidomide - Birth Defects Explained
McCredie J. 
Published in 2007 by The Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd
United Kingdom
ISBN 10: 1853157414
ISBN 13: 9781853157414


Congenital Limb Reduction Defects - clues from developmental biology, teratology and epidemiology
Brown N, Lumley J, Tickle C, Keene J. 
Commissioned by The Department of Health (England)
Published in 1996 by The Stationery Office
United Kingdom
ISBN 10: 011312992X
ISBN 13: 9780113219926

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