A deformity, dysmorphism, or dysmorphic feature is a major difference in the shape of a body part or organ compared to the average shape of that part.
Deformity may arise from numerous causes :
- Genetic mutation
- Damage to the fetus or uterus
- Complications at birth
- A growth or hormone disorder
- Reconstructive surgery following a severe injury e.g. burn injury.
- Arthritis and other rheumatoid disorders
Deformity can occur in non-humans, as well. Frogs can be mutated due to Ribeiroia (Trematoda) infection.
In many cases in which a major deformity is present at birth, it is the result of an underlying condition severe enough that the baby does not survive very long. The mortality of severely deformed births may be due to a range of complications including missing or non-functioning vital organs, structural defects that prevent breathing or eating, and high susceptibility to injuries, abnormal facial appearance, or infections that lead to death.