What is Amniotic Band Syndrome?

Article Details
  • Written By: Sarah Snypes
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
People with auto-brewery syndrome convert carbs into ethanol in their gut, becoming drunk without drinking alcohol.  more...

November 13 ,  1956 :  The US Supreme Court upheld a decision that ended public bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama.  more...

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.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 5

My mom had this fetal syndrome when she was pregnant with me. Thankfully, the only defect I was born with was the joining of my pinkie and ring finger on one hand. The doctors separated them at birth, so it's barely noticeable now.

Amniotic band syndrome is not genetic, unlike what most people think. But since I'm newly married and planning to have kids, my doctor suggested that I have genetic testing done anyway.

He said that sometimes, doctors are not able to differentiate between defects due to this syndrome and defects due to genetic disorders. And a false diagnosis is possible. I'm pretty sure that I was not wrongly diagnosed, and I have no worries about a future pregnancy. But I will still get the genetic testing to put my mind at ease.

Has anyone else with an amniotic band syndrome defect been told to get genetic testing done by their doctor?

Post 4

@anon169326-- I'm sorry to hear about what your daughter and the baby had to go through. But I do feel that the baby is one of the lucky ones.

My cousin lost her baby because of this syndrome. When the doctors first diagnosed amniotic band syndrome through an ultrasound, they told her that the baby's arm and both feet would have to be amputated at birth. That was a huge devastation but she decided to go ahead and have the baby.

Unfortunately during the next several weeks, one of the bands wrapped around the umbilical cord and the baby died. When they realized his heart was no longer beating, they aborted him. It was so sad, a very traumatic experience for the parents.

Quite a few infants pass away even before they are born because of this syndrome. So I do feel that those who make it are indeed lucky.

Post 3

@anon169326-- Can you sue the doctor?

Doctors have the responsibility to warn their patients of possible complications of an amniocentesis test, and amniotic band syndrome is one of them. I know a doctor who refused to do an amniocentesis on a mother for a DNA paternity test precisely for this reason.

Amniotic band syndrome happens when the amniotic sac ruptures, this is what releases the bands into the amniotic fluid which then attach to the baby. Since a physician has to insert a needle into the amniotic sac to get to the fluid during an amniocentesis, there is a risk of rupture.

Post 2

an amniocentesis cannot detect ABS.

Post 1

my daughter had an amniocentesis test done and the doctor failed to tell her her baby could have birth defects and her baby was born without his right hand.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?