Malformations come in many shapes and varieties.

A congenital malformation is medically defined as the deformity of an organ that developed prenatally, meaning before birth. This may also affect several organs. Characteristic combinations are called malformation syndromes.


Aplasia Absence of an organ
Hypoplasia Underdevelopment of an organ
Inhibition Premature stagnation of organ development
Atresia Abnormally closed hollow organ
Dystopia Tissue in a place in which it usually is not present
Choristoma Normal tissue in an abnormal location
Fusion Merging of tissues
Malrotation Failure to turn correctly



In most cases, the cause of a malformation cannot be established. Malformations may occur spontaneously without an apparent cause, may be hereditary or may be triggered by exogenous factors.

Exogenous factors suspected to cause malformations include the following:

  • Nutrient deficiency in the mother
  • Infections of the mother
  • X-rays or other ionizing radiations
  • Medications
  • Alcohol
  • Chemicals
  • Anomalies of the fetal position in the womb

The type and extent of malformations resulting from exogenous factors depend on the time of exposure.


Approximately two percent of all newborn children have genetic peculiarities or physical malformations.

For example, in Germany, one in 500 babies is born with a cleft lip and palate, and about 0.5 to 0.7% of all live-born children are born with a cardiac defect. Approximately 1 in 1000 infants are born with clubfoot (boys are affected twice as often as girls).

STANDBEIN e.V. focuses on the "three major" malformations of the lower extremities: