Sirenomeli Mermaid Syndrome

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Sirenomelia, or more commonly referred to as mermaid syndrome, is an extremely rare congenital developmental disorder that affects the lower half of an infant’s body. Sirenomelia either completely or partially fuses the lower half of an infant’s body together. Other possible deformities include a deformed pelvis, spine, feet, and tailbone. Possible organs that are most commonly affected by Sirenomelia are the kidneys, stomach, intestines, genitals, and urinary organs. Sirenomelia is extremely rare happening in only about 1 in 60,000 to 100,000 births. Most infants that are born with Sirenomelia either die within a couple of hours or are stillborns. However, there are three cases of the infants living for a substantially long period of time.…show more content…
Since it is a congenital disorder, it is contracted before birth inside the womb. According to the article “Congenital Anomalies”, “Congenital anomalies can be defined as structural or functional anomalies (e.g. metabolic disorders) that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified prenatally, at birth or later in life.” Sirenomelia is both a structural and functional disorder. As previously mentioned, deformities can include deformed pelvises, spines, feet, and in most cases tailbones are nonexistent. Infants are either born with either feet or no feet. However, even if feet are present they are deemed useless since they are conjoined. Additionally, organs suffer as well. Infants who contract Sirenomelia often have an absence of one or both kidneys and their bladder. Similarly, another possibly deformity is called imperforate anus. In the article of “Sirenomelia” it states “In addition, they may have an imperforate anus, a condition in which a thin covering blocking the anal opening or the passage that normally connects the anus and lowest part of the large intestine (rectum) fails to develop.” This means that they are unable to excrete waste as normal people do. Between absence of the bladder, genitals, and imperforate anus, if infants don’t go through surgery early on to separate their fused legs, they must undergo surgery to be able to excrete their waste through a bag. *ADD THREE…show more content…
Surgery is an option for any infant that survive for 24 hours after birth. As long as you qualify for surgery, with the consent of the parents, infants are allowed to undergo surgery to separate their fused legs. There are to known cases in which infants divided their legs before the age of one. Their names are Milagros Cerrón and Tiffany Yorks. These two girls are still alive today and live a very normal life. However, Tiffany suffers from limited mobility due to her fragile legs. Therefore, she uses a wheelchair and crutches to get around. According to the article “Causes, Treatment, and Survivors of Mermaid Syndrome – A Fatal Birth Defect”, “However, successful separation of the fused legs does not guarantee that the child will be able to walk normally. The child can survive as long as the vital organs are complete and fully functional.” This quote proves that separating the legs is just one piece of the puzzle. In order to ensure a healthy life for the child, all organs must be functioning properly as well. Also, arguably the most infamous case of Sirenomelia is the one of Shiloh Pepin. Shiloh Pepin lived 10 years but she never received surgery to disconnect her legs. However, all three of these cases have experienced kidney transplants. Additionally, since Sirenomelia can be detected in the womb, it is highly recommended that mothers take the proper precautions if Sirenomelia is

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