What Is Hemifacial Microsomia?
Have you ever heard of a birth defect called hemifacial microsomia? Most people haven’t. However, it’s important to have a basic understanding of hemifacial microsomia as well as other disfiguring birth defects. Increased awareness of such disabilities reduces stigma surrounding birth defects and increases social inclusion of individuals who have them.
Some people are born with under-developed faces.
Hemifacial microsomia, also known as craniofacial microsomia, “is a condition in which the tissue on one side of the face is underdeveloped, affecting primarily the aural (ear), oral (mouth), and mandibular (jaw) areas.” Individuals with this type of disability deal with the medical, emotional, and social repercussions of their condition.
How does hemifacial microsomia affect people?
Besides negatively affecting the ears, jaw, eyes, cheeks, and neck, hemifacial microsomia (when severe) may also affect the teeth, inside of the skull, inside of the ear, and the nerves that control facial movement. In many cases of this disability, one side of a person’s face is more impacted than the other. This can cause the face to appear asymmetrical.
A couple other characteristics of hemifacial microsomia include smaller eyes and a flat forehead. In serious cases, hemifacial microsomia may cause an individual’s face to make asymmetrical movements.
Hemifacial microsomia is the second most common birth defect.
There is a low level of awareness of hemifacial microsomia. This is unfortunate since the condition is the second most common birth defect (the first is cleft lip/palate).
Infants are born everyday with disfiguring birth defects such as hemifacial microsomia. The more people who understand such disabilities, the better. Those who have severe birth defects face isolation and social exclusion — increased awareness is a key to ending these types of injustices. Follow the Disability Living blog this week and educate yourself about disfiguring birth defects. Thank you for increasing awareness of these types of disabilities among your community.
Feel free to share your thoughts about hemifacial microsomia with us — leave a comment on this Disability Living blog post today.
The National Benefit Authority is Canada’s leading service provider of the Disability Tax Credit, a disability program that offers financial support to people with medical conditions, including hemifacial microsomia. We’ve helped over 40,000 Canadians successfully receive their Canadian disability benefits!