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What is hemihypertrophy?

Hemihyperplasia is a disorder which one side of the body grows abnormally more than the other. It is determined because of an excess production of cells, causing asymmetry.

In a normal cell, there is a “smart” program that prevents our body from the growth of cells once they reach a certain size. However, in hemihyperplasia, the cells on one side aren’t able to stop growing. This makes the affected body area(s) to continue growing or enlarge abnormally. The condition however can only affect one limb, finger, foot, face or the entire half of the body including the half of the brain and internal organs.

Generally, hemihypertrophy is a harmless condition although this depends on the part of the body that is affected. But you shouldn’t be careless, hemihypertrophy can be a reason to concern as the condition is an indication of cancer. Normally, every individual has a cell in the body that have function to trigger growth which generally stops once the certain size has been attained usually on a certain age.

Hemihypertrophy is a congenital disorder (it means this condition is presented at birth). This congenital disorder may be harmless but the adverse effect may occur depending on which part of the body is related to the abnormal growth rate.

How common is hemihypertrophy?

This health condition is rare. It can equally affect both genders and without racial predilection. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of hemihypertrophy?

The common symptoms of hemihypertrophy are:

  • Tendency for one side of the body to be larger than the other side.
  • An arm or a leg can be longer or larger in circumference.
  • In some cases, the trunk or the face on one side is larger. Sometimes this isn’t really noticeable unless the individual lies on a bed or flat surface (called the bed test).
  • In other cases, the difference in posture and gait (how someone walks) is noticeable.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes hemihypertrophy?

There is not exact cause of hemihypertrophy although this condition is believed to run in the family. Genetic mutation is also believed to become a reason in hemihypertrophy particularly mutation in gene 11. This disorder is also unpredicted because genetic involvement on the other hand is proved to differ from one person to another.

The onset of hemihypertrophy in some children is seen to be related to other genetic syndrome such as:

Beckwith-Weidemann syndrome.

Beckwith-Weidemann syndrome is an overgrowth syndrome that affects multiple parts of the body. In this genetic disorder, overgrowth is the rule.

It may be severe in some children but other is not. Not only can the limbs overgrow, but the tongue (macroglossia), and even certain abdominal organs (such as kidneys, liver, and pancreas).

Since the organs can overgrow, BWS is related to an increased risk of developing certain types of childhood cancers (most of which can be cured with proper therapies).

Klippel- Trenaunay-Weber (KTW).

This is a rare medical condition in which the blood vessels and/or lymphatic vessels are not established appropriately.

Its characters include three main features including – port wine stain (nevus flammeus), malformations of the venous and lymphatic vessels, and hemihypertrophy of the soft tissue of the involved limb.

Sturge-Weber Syndrome (SWS)

This is a disorder that affects both the skin and the nervous system.  It is usually characterized by a large port wine stain on the face.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hemihypertrophy diagnosed?

A physical exam is usually done. Symptoms are related to other conditions, like Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS), Proteus syndrome, Russell-Silver syndrome, and Sotos syndrome.

Diagnostic imaging may be required to screen for tumors.

Because this disorder is rare and often overlooked, it is recommended that the diagnosis be made by a clinical geneticist who is familiar with it.

How is hemihypertropvhy treated?

Hemihypertrophy is generally not a life-threatening condition except in cases when it is associated with other forms of cancer.

Children born with hemihypertrophy are usually at increased risk for cancer particularly in the abdomen.

There is no cure for hemihyperplasia. Treatment is centered on screening the patient for tumor growth and treating the tumors. For abnormal limb size, orthopedic treatment and corrective shoes can be recommended.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hemihypertrophy?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hemihypertrophy:

Because most of the cancers occur in the abdomen, the recommendation has been made that children with hemihypertrophy receive a screening abdominal ultrasound every 3 months until age 7 and, at minimum, a careful physical examination every 6 months until growth is completed.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Hello Health Group tidak memberikan nasihat perubatan, diagnosis atau rawatan.

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