Cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia is a rare condition characterized by abnormal development (dysplasia) of the brain (cerebro) and structures in the face (facio) and torso (thoracic). The problems with development lead to the key features of cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia, which include severe intellectual disability, distinctive facial features, and abnormalities of the ribs and spinal bones ().
In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia have delayed development of speech and movement (motor) skills, and in some, these skills never develop. Nearly one-quarter of affected individuals never learn to speak and almost half are unable to walk. Weak muscle tone (hypotonia) and difficulty feeding occur in some affected infants. People with cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia can have behavioral problems, such as anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, or self-injuring behavior; however, many people with the condition are described as friendly and good-natured.
Distinctive facial features common in cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia include a wide, short skull (); or eyebrows that grow together in the middle (); widely spaced eyes (); a ; low-set ears; an upper lip with pronounced curves (); and small teeth (). Some affected individuals have overgrowth of the gums (), an opening in the roof of the mouth (), or a split in the upper lip ().
Problems with bone development in the torso (thorax) commonly leads to bone abnormalities such as two or more ribs that are joined together (fused) or ribs that are abnormally shaped with two prongs at one end (bifid ribs). Many people with cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia have abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine () due to malformation of the vertebrae; some vertebrae may also be fused. Additionally, the shoulder blades can be affected in people with this condition.
A wide variety of other features can occur in cerebro-facio-thoracic dysplasia, such as abnormalities involving the eyes, skin, or hair. Heart defects, digestive problems, or genitourinary problems (such as abnormal kidneys or reproductive organs) can also occur. Affected individuals may also have bone or joint abnormalities in other parts of the body.