What is Aplasia?

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What is Aplasia?
Aplasia refers to the medical condition wherein a particular organ or tissue has a defective development or is absent at birth. Some conditions are so severe and fatal with defects and or absence of vital organs like the brain or heart. Other conditions involve the impaired development or function of some cellular structures which are vital for the various internal processes of the body.

One type of this medical condition is “Aplasia cutis congenita”. This condition involves the absence of a portion of the skin and usually affects the scalp area. This skin condition may be localized or may involve a wide area which is immediately noticeable at birth. In most cases, the skin absence is confined to one area of the scalp only. But some people may suffer from multiple lesions involving several areas of the scalp or head. This type of aplasia is commonly benign and some conditions may heal just before delivery resulting to alopecia-like scarring.

Another type of aplasia is “Pure Red Cell aplasia”. This type refers to the absence of red blood cell precursors in the bone marrow. With RBC absence, it is only typical to those suffering from this medical condition to have normal WBC and megakaryocyte precursor levels. Because of the absence of RBC precursors, anemia is the most common problem, which may be moderate to severe. This condition may result from other illnesses like thymomas and some auto-immune disorders like SLE. Persons suffering from pure red cell aplasia will appear pale and will manifest signs of weakness in the early stages. Treatment will depend on the symptoms and severity of the condition.

There are various other types of aplasia affecting newborns. Some of these other conditions include aplastic anemia, radial aplasia, thymic aplasia, and germ cell aplasia among others. For the common person, he/she may automatically think that the absence of a certain body part or structure is always fatal. But this is not always true. Some children may grow up healthy even with certain types of aplasia. A classic example are children born with only one kidney. These children may still survive and live healthy lives with just one kidney in their bodies.

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