Current concepts in tall stature and overgrowth syndromes

S. L S Drop, N. Greggio, M. Cappa, S. Bernasconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this overview an update is given on the pathogenesis, classification and differential diagnosis of overgrowth syndromes. In addition, height prognosis and therapeutic modalities available for managing mainly constitutional tall stature are discussed. Constitutional tall stature comprises normal variants in which one or both parents are tall. Primary disorders may have a prenatal onset and may be of chromosomal or genetic origin. Secondary overgrowth syndromes are most often the result of hormonal disturbances. Height prediction plays a key role in the management of tall children. Prediction equation models have been developed based on the growth data of healthy tall children. There is general agreement that a favourable effect on reducing ultimate height is obtained using high doses of sex steroids (girls 100-300 μg ethinyloestradiol; boys testosterone (T) ester depot preparations 250-1000 mg/month), the height reduction being greater when the treatment is started at a lower chronological and/or bone age. An alternative is the induction of puberty with low doses of sex steroids (girls 5-50 μg ethinyloestradiol; boys T esters 25-50 mg/m2/3 wk). In addition orthopaedic procedures have been suggested, but there is limited experience. Although psychosocial factors constitute the main reason for treating tall stature, extensive psychological investigations before or during height limiting therapy are lacking. Moreover, there are no objective data indicating lifelong psychosocial damage resulting from being tall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-984
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Androgen therapy
  • Consensus guidelines
  • Growth hormone
  • Oestrogen therapy
  • Overgrowth syndromes
  • Tall stature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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