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What Is Aplasia Cutis Congenita?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Aplasia cutis congenita, also known as cutis aplasia, is a rare congenital disorder that causes the affected person to be born without a portion of the skin. In some cases, some of the underlying tissues, such as bone, may be missing as well. The scalp is the most commonly affected area in cases of aplasia cutis congenita, although skin tissue can be missing from any part of the body. The typical treatment for this condition usually consists of careful cleaning and the application of a special ointment, as the skin will typically grow in on its own in a matter of weeks. Any questions or concerns about aplasia cutis congenita or individualized treatment methods should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

The majority of babies who are born with aplasia cutis congenita have a patch of skin missing from the scalp. The arms, legs, or trunk area of the body are affected in a small percentage of these patients. In some cases, there is more than one area of missing skin. A thin membrane that is easy to see through typically covers the area where the skin should be.

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When aplasia cutis congenita affects the scalp, there may be a small defect in the bones of the skull, although this is normally minor and will heal on its own. The body will usually repair the defects caused by this condition without any invasive medical treatment becoming necessary. Within a few weeks of birth, minor bone defects heal themselves and skin begins to grow over the affected areas.

The only diagnostic tool needed in order to accurately diagnose aplasia cutis congenita is a physical examination. The medical staff will notice the missing patches of skin within moments of the birth of the affected child. If it appears that there may be significant bone defects, additional tests, such as x-rays or CT scans, may be ordered so that the doctors can assess the severity of the condition.

Treatment for aplasia cutis congenita is normally a simple process of carefully cleaning the affected areas and gently applying a special ointment as directed by the medical staff. This ointment is usually made from a substance known as silver sulfadiazine, although other types of ointment may sometimes be used. Surgical intervention is necessary only in the more extreme cases of bone defects or when the missing patches of skin cover a large portion of the scalp.

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