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Amniotic Band Syndrome

What is Amniotic Band Syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome occurs when string-like bands develop from the inner lining of the amniotic sac, the thin membrane that encloses and protects a fetus in the womb. In amniotic band syndrome, thin strands of tissue form inside the sac and tangle around the baby, trapping parts of their body. The pressure caused by this can affect the baby’s development, making indentations in their tissue. These creases are called the amniotic bands. For the most part, the bands only affect the outer layers of soft tissue, but tighter bands can go bone deep. They cause a variety of birth defects. Amniotic band syndrome occurs randomly and is not affected by any behaviors from expecting mothers. It is estimated to occur in about 1 in 1,200 to 15,000 births. No two cases will be exactly alike.

What are the symptoms of amniotic band syndrome?

Symptoms in this condition vary widely because they depend on the areas of the body affected by the amniotic bands and the severity of their constrictions. They can include:
  • Shortened, underdeveloped, or absent fingers, toes, and/or limbs
  • Webbed fingers
  • Bone abnormalities
  • Leg-length discrepancy
  • Opening in the abdomen through which organs can protrude
  • Skull defect that has a protrusion of a portion of the brain
  • Cleft lip
  • Cleft palate
  • Club feet
  • Deeper constrictions that block blood flow and lymphatic vessels
  • Miscarriage

What causes amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome happens randomly. The condition is not genetic and is not influenced by expecting mothers’ behavior. The exact cause of it is unknown.

How is amniotic band syndrome diagnosed?

Amniotic band syndrome is usually diagnosed shortly after birth upon seeing the characteristic physical signs. Other procedures include:
  • Vaginal ultrasound
  • Identifying the results of fusion, like deformed or missing limbs
  • Amniocentesis

What are the treatments for amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome treatment will vary depending on the severity of the condition, as well as what areas of the body have been affected. It includes:
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Monitoring of bands as babies grow to watch for ongoing constriction and swelling
  • Prosthetics

Where can I find out more about amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic Band Syndrome Articles