Amniotic band syndrome (ABS) is a condition associated with various birth defects. This condition develops when strands of amniotic sac entrap parts of the developing body, which can cause swelling, amputations, and other deformities. The symptoms of this disorder are highly variable, with no two cases exactly the same. Symptoms of ABS can vary from a sole, isolated symptom to multiple complications. Amniotic band syndrome has several different names, including constriction band syndrome and Streeter dysplasia.
This may affect any newborn infant, and is generally thought to cause no discomfort to the baby. The cause of amniotic tearing is currently unknown, and there are no preventive measures available. Amniotic band syndrome is often hard to detect before birth because the individual strands are difficult to see on an ultrasound. The bands are most often indirectly detected because of the swelling and constrictions upon digits and limbs.
Occurrence of this condition is considered to be an accidental event, and is not hereditary or genetic. This condition is not likely to exist in another pregnancy. Amniotic band syndrome occurs in approximately one in 15,000 births worldwide.
Amniotic band syndrome may present itself in several different forms. It may cause only a slight indentation in a limb, or it can result in the fingers or toes joining together. Amputations of digits may also occur in ABS.
One of the main health issues in most cases of amniotic band syndrome is function of the hand and fingers. When the fingers are joined together, function of the digits is restricted. Function may also be limited by short digits, caused by intra-uterine amputations or growth arrest.
Other problems commonly associated with amniotic band syndrome include clubfoot and cleft lip and palate. In approximately 40 to 60 percent of cases, connected deviations may also occur. Generally no internal irregularities of internal organs are present in amniotic band syndrome.
Amniotic band syndrome is typically treated after birth, with plastic and reconstructive surgery used to treat the resulting abnormalities. The number, kind, and type of operations hinges on the particular deformity exhibited in each case. In cases where the fingertips are joined together, the first operation is done to separate the fingertips so they can independently move. This surgery is usually performed in the first three to six months of life. After the initial operation, more complicated procedures may be done according to severity.