What is a congenital deformity?
Congenital relates to the presence of something at or before birth. Congenital deformities are structural or functional defects that arise during intrauterine life. They can be discovered prenatally, at delivery, or, in certain cases, later in childhood.
About 3% to 4% of all babies in the US are born with congenital abnormalities that will affect the way they develop, function, and look as they grow older.
Congenital deformities can have a negative impact on organ function, physical growth, appearance, and neurodevelopment. Most birth abnormalities appear during organ formation – within the first three months of pregnancy. Minor birth abnormalities are less harmful, while more severe ones can be fatal.
What are some different types of congenital problems?
Congenital abnormalities can be structural or developmental in form, influencing how the body functions, how a child learns, or how they use their senses.
- Cleft lip or palate: Tissues that make up the mouth’s roof or the lip fail to connect properly. This can hinder eating, hearing, and talking.
- Heart underdevelopment: Part of the heart fails to fully develop in the womb. This can impede circulation or cause ventricular abnormalities.
- Spina bifida: The spine fails to develop and close completely. Effects range from moderate to severe, depending on which section of the spine is affected.
- Cerebral palsy: Mainly affects mobility, balance and posture.
Other conditions include:
- Down Syndrome
- Esophageal agenesis/hypoplasia
- Renal agenesis/hypoplasia
There are a variety of diagnostic techniques used to identify congenital disorders, including:
- Amniocentesis: amniotic fluid is taken from the sac surrounding the fetus and tested for genetic or chromosomal disorders like Down Syndrome. This is typically performed during the second trimester.
- Chorionic Villus Sampling: placental cells are sampled and tested. This is typically performed earlier than amniocentesis.
- Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing: requires a blood draw from the mother to analyze DNA to determine possible risks for certain chromosomal disorders.
What are some common treatment options?
There is a wide range of treatment options for nearly every type of congenital deformity. People with limb abnormalities may opt for physical therapy, corrective surgery, or orthotics.
Technological advancements in prenatal surgeries can diagnose and treat some conditions before birth. Many conditions are treated with long-term support throughout childhood and often into adulthood. This might include pediatric rehabilitation, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, and various educational interventions.
Treatment Options at Brooks Rehabilitation
We have an expert team of therapists and physicians that offer specialized pediatric support through many means, including:
- Aquatic therapy
- Cognitive rehabilitation
- Music therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Pediatric recreation
- Respiratory therapy
- School Re-entry Program
- Therapy dogs
- Wheelchair / Equipment assessment
Through our full system of care, we are able to bridge the transitions between childhood, adolescence and adulthood at any stage of treatment or recovery. That means going beyond our own doors and working with individuals in our community.
That’s why we provide:
- Awareness programs for physical and developmental rehabilitation and injury prevention
- Free educational opportunities for families
- Free developmental screenings around Jacksonville and St. Augustine
- Free community benefit programs such as Adaptive Sports & Recreation, Pediatric Recreation and ThinkFirst! injury prevention
- Assistance with school re-entry to help ease the transition back to the classroom
- Parent support services such as financial grants
- Special events that foster a sense of community and education
At Brooks Rehabilitation, each patient receives a personalized rehabilitation and recovery plan depending on their age and their needs. Contact us today to find a location near you and to schedule an appointment.