What is Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome?
Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome (BWS) is a disorder that can cause the overgrowth of body parts (hypertrophy) along with other distinctive physical features. It is a congenital condition, meaning that it is present at birth. Many symptoms of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome become less obvious as a child grows older, and adults with the disorder have normal growth and appearance.
What parts of the body does Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome affect?
The overgrowth caused by BWS can affect the head, legs, tongue, organs, or other body parts. It may only make one side of the body bigger than the other (hemihypertrophy) or affect a single area of the body.
What are the causes of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome?
Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is caused by a defect in the genes on chromosome 11. About 10% of cases are passed down through families, while the other 90% occur at random. If a person carries the gene for BWS, they have up to a 50% chance of passing it down to their children.