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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita

Reviewed July 2008

What is spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita is an inherited disorder of bone growth that results in short stature (dwarfism), skeletal abnormalities, and problems with vision and hearing. This condition affects the bones of the spine (spondylo-) and the ends (epiphyses) of long bones in the arms and legs. Congenita indicates that the condition is present from birth.

People with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita have short stature from birth, with a very short trunk and neck and shortened limbs. Their hands and feet, however, are usually average-sized. Adult height ranges from 3 feet to just over 4 feet. Abnormal curvature of the spine (kyphoscoliosis and lordosis) becomes more severe during childhood and can cause problems with breathing. Instability of the spinal bones (vertebrae) in the neck may increase the risk of spinal cord damage. Other skeletal features include flattened vertebrae (platyspondyly); an abnormality of the hip joint that causes the upper leg bones to turn inward (coxa vara); a broad, barrel-shaped chest; and a foot deformity called a clubfoot. Arthritis and decreased joint mobility often develop early in life.

People with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita have mild changes in their facial features. The cheekbones close to the nose may appear flattened. Some infants are born with an opening in the roof of the mouth (a cleft palate). Severe nearsightedness (high myopia) is common, as are other eye problems that can impair vision. About one quarter of people with this condition have hearing loss.

How common is spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

This condition is rare; the exact incidence is unknown. More than 175 cases have been reported in the scientific literature.

What genes are related to spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita is one of a spectrum of skeletal disorders caused by mutations in the COL2A1 gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein that forms type II collagen. This type of collagen is found mostly in cartilage and in the clear gel that fills the eyeball (the vitreous). The COL2A1 gene is essential for the normal development of bones and other tissues that form the body's supportive framework (connective tissues). Mutations in the COL2A1 gene interfere with the assembly of type II collagen molecules, which prevents bones and other connective tissues from developing properly.

Related Gene(s)

Changes in this gene are associated with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita.

  • COL2A1

How do people inherit spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is sufficient to cause the disorder.

Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

These resources address the diagnosis or management of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita and may include treatment providers.

  • Genetic Testing Registry: Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (
  • MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Clubfoot (
  • MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Lordosis (
  • MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Retinal Detachment (
  • MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Scoliosis (

You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita in Educational resources and Patient support.

General information about the diagnosis ( and management ( of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing (, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests (

To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

You may find the following resources about spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita helpful. These materials are written for the general public.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

  • SEDc
  • SED congenita
  • SED, congenital type
  • Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, congenital type

For more information about naming genetic conditions, see the Genetics Home Reference Condition Naming Guidelines ( and How are genetic conditions and genes named? ( in the Handbook.

What if I still have specific questions about spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

Ask the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (

What glossary definitions help with understanding spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita?

arthritis ; autosomal ; autosomal dominant ; cartilage ; cell ; cleft palate ; clubfoot ; collagen ; congenital ; coxa vara ; dwarfism ; dysplasia ; gene ; incidence ; inherited ; joint ; kyphoscoliosis ; lordosis ; myopia ; nearsightedness ; palate ; protein ; short stature ; spectrum ; stature

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.


  • Dahiya R, Cleveland S, Megerian CA. Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita associated with conductive hearing loss. Ear Nose Throat J. 2000 Mar;79(3):178-82. (
  • Spranger J, Winterpacht A, Zabel B. The type II collagenopathies: a spectrum of chondrodysplasias. Eur J Pediatr. 1994 Feb;153(2):56-65. Review. (


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? ( in the Handbook.

Reviewed: July 2008
Published: February 8, 2016