Russell Silver Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Russell Silver Syndrome is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion


Russell-Silver syndrome (RSS) is a rare disorder characterized by intrauterine growth retardation and postnatal growth deficiency along with a handful of common physical characteristics and a range of other symptoms. The wide spectrum of phenotype findings vary both in incidence rate and severity from one individual to another. Besides prenatal and postnatal growth retardation, the most common characteristics are normal head circumference (appearing large for the body), a large forehead that protrudes out from the plane of the face, a triangular-shaped face, a pinky that is fixed or "locked" in a bent position (clinodactyly), lack of appetite/low BMI, and undergrowth of one side or limb(s) of the body (hemihypotrophy), resulting in unequal (asymmetric) growth. The majority of children with RSS fall within the normal range of intelligence, but are more likely to have motor and speech delays. Intervention at an early age (infancy) is critical. Some evidence indicates that there may be neurodevelopmental differences between the different genetic causes of RSS. RSS is genetically heterogeneous, meaning that different genetic abnormalities are believed to cause the disorder. Abnormalities affecting certain genes on chromosomes 7 or 11 have been found in up to 60% of RSS patients, leaving approximately 40% of patients where the underlying cause of RSS is not known.


This syndrome was independently identified by H.K. Silver in 1953 and A. Russell in 1954. In the early medical literature, the term Silver syndrome had been used to denote a child with low birth weight, overgrowth of one side (in fact, undergrowth) of the body (lateral asymmetry), and clinodactyly, whereas the term Russell syndrome had been used to denote a similar condition without asymmetry. However, most researchers now consider Russell-Silver syndrome one disease entity. The disorder is usually called Russell-Silver syndrome in the United States and Silver-Russell syndrome in Europe

Supporting Organizations

Child Growth Foundation

Tel: 020 8995 0257

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

Human Growth Foundation

997 Glen Cove Avenue
Suite 5
Glen Head, NY 11545
Tel: (516)671-4041
Fax: (516)671-4055
Tel: (800)451-6434

Little People of America, Inc.

250 El Camino Real Suite 201
Tustin, CA 92780
Tel: (714)368-3689
Fax: (714)368-3367
Tel: (888)572-2001

MAGIC Foundation

6645 W. North Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
Tel: (708)383-0808
Fax: (708)383-0899
Tel: (800)362-4423

NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Information Clearinghouse
One AMS Circle
Bethesda, MD 20892-3675
Tel: (301)495-4484
Fax: (301)718-6366
Tel: (877)226-4267

The Arc

1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: (202)534-3700
Fax: (202)534-3731
Tel: (800)433-5255

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  4/10/2013
Copyright  2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.