Dwarfism and gigantism
Horton, William A. Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, Health Science Center, University of Texas, Houston, Texas.
Last reviewed:March 2021
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Underdevelopment and overdevelopment of the skeleton, respectively. Dwarfism and gigantism are conditions of abnormal skeletal growth. In general, skeletal growth is a complex process and can be disturbed in many ways. For example, overstimulation by excessive growth-hormone production during childhood can produce gigantism. This condition is usually the result of a pituitary tumor. Insufficient stimulation of skeletal growth, resulting from hormonal, metabolic, or nutritional disturbances, leads to reduced height with normal body proportions. The shortness of stature depends on the degree of the disturbance; the designation proportionate dwarfism is used in severe cases (see illustration). Proportionate dwarfism may or may not be genetic. See also: Animal growth; Hormone; Pituitary gland disorders; Skeletal system; Tumor
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