Maffucci syndrome is a congenital disorder that causes benign tumors that primarily affect the bones, cartilage, and blood vessels of the limbs. It is often mistaken for a similar disorder, Ollier disease, which is comparatively more prevalent. While the disorders share certain characteristics, such as affecting the cartilage, doctors can differentiate between the two because only Maffucci syndrome also involves the blood vessels and vascular system.
Maffucci syndrome is characterized by non-cancerous tumors of the cartilage (enchondromas) and blood vessels (hemangiomas). Cartilage is connective tissue that also serves as a starting material for bone development; the syndrome's tumors most commonly affect the cartilage in the small, long bones of hands and feet. One-quarter of people with Maffucci syndrome exhibit some symptoms at birth, but most start to develop lesions and growths between the ages of one and five.
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