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Harmonious dwarfism


Dwarfism is a lack of growth. This lack of growth is due to several factors, the most common being a hereditary one. There are two types of dwarfism: disharmonious dwarfism, where the body appears disproportionate generally with shorter limbs in relation to the body, and harmonious dwarfism, namely dwarfism where both the limbs and the rest of the body are reduced in size compared to normal, while remaining proportionate. Disharmonious dwarfism is often caused by disorders of bone growth. Harmonious dwarfism is usually due to the insufficient secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland or to a severe nutritional deficiency. These two types of dwarfism can also be consecutive to growth retardation at the time of pregnancy.


Harmonious dwarfism is manifested as follows:
  • growth curves, weight and size, that gradually diverge from the norm, while remaining substantially homogeneous;
  • a very small size with proportionate limbs;
  • small organs, such as a micropenis;
  • delayed puberty.


To establish the diagnosis of a harmonious dwarfism, a patient history will be recorded, including the occurrence of premature birth or complications during pregnancy. The size and weight of the child at birth must be known. Knowing the history of the parents, their height, weight and age of onset of puberty are required. The child's diet should also be evaluated. Additional tests are performed including blood tests, X-rays of the hand to assess the bone age, and sometimes a karyotype studying chromosomes and their anomalies. The most frequent diagnosis of dwarfism is via the measuring of GH deficiency. Occasionally, an MRI may be necessary.


The treatment depends on the cause of the dwarfism. If it is a deficiency of growth hormone, a synthetic hormone may be administered. In case of nutrient deficiency, a balanced diet is necessary. However, if the cause of harmonious dwarfism is genetic, there is no treatment.

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