When humans, animals or plant life have specific parts that are distorted or disfigured to some degree, this is often known as a type of deformity. If these parts take on a rather odd shape or nonconformity, it will often be labeled as deformed. There are many types of deformities affecting all aspects of life, although the most common and researched would be those involving human beings.
Deformities can happen for various reasons and are commonly seen in infants born with birth defects. Certain areas of the body might be deformed due to a genetic factor or an environmental issue. Deformities involving the face and skull are one kind seen in newborns. Medical experts and scientists are still searching for clues to determine the cause of such abnormalities. Many of these deformities require repair through extensive surgery.
There is one type of facial deformity that affects newborns called Treacher Collins Syndrome. Caused by a genetic factor, this disease causes severe deformities within the structures of the face and head. It is a craniofacial deformity, which can require years of reconstructive surgery.
Other types of deformities include limbs that are unmatched. One leg that is shorter than the other or partially formed is considered a medical deformity. Individuals born with partially or underdeveloped limbs have deformities as well. Some infants are born with six toes on one foot or an extra finger, for instance—typically, the extra digit can be surgically removed or left alone if it does not interfere with the quality of life. In most cases, it is an option to be discussed with the physician.
Any malformation that occurs within the structure of the body is considered to be a dysmorphic feature. One such dysmorphic disorder is skeletal dysplasia. Common findings might include misshaped features within skeletal structures and bones. Such deformities primarily affect the limbs.
Animals are also born with deformities. A deformity in a puppy or kitten might manifest in disproportionate limbs or a protruding breastbone. There have been amphibians, reptiles and mammals born with two heads. A human with a parasitic twin conjoined at the head is believed to have a condition called craniopagus parasiticus. This is an extremely rare and severe deformity.
Deformities and syndromes involving human appearance are often the reason behind reconstructive surgery. If there is something to work with and a surgeon is able to perform reconstruction, someone with a deformity has the potential to lead a normal life.