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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Amniotic band syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • ABS
  • Amniotic bands sequence
  • Congenital constricting bands
  • Familial amniotic bands
  • Streeter anomaly
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Your Question

I would like to learn about amniotic band syndrome. I have a newborn nephew who may have ABS in his left wrist/hand. Who are the best physicians I can discuss the diagnosis with? What should we expect? I have many questions, who can I talk to?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What are amniotic bands?

Amniotic band refers to bands extending from (and originating from) the inner lining of the amnion. The amnion is the sac that surrounds the baby in the womb.
Last updated: 10/17/2013

What causes amniotic bands?

Amniotic bands are caused by damage to a part of the placenta called the amnion. Damage to the amnion may produce fiber-like bands that can trap parts of the developing baby.[1] 
Last updated: 11/1/2013

How is amniotic band syndrome diagnosed?

The earliest reported detection of an amniotic band is at 12 weeks gestation, by vaginal ultrasound.[2] On ultrasound the bands appear as thin, mobile lines, which may be seen attached to or around the baby.[3] However these bands may be difficult to detect by ultrasound, and are more often diagnosed by the results of the fusion, such as missing or deformed limbs.
Last updated: 11/1/2013

What are the signs and symptoms of amniotic band syndrome?

The symptoms of amniotic band syndrome depend on the severity and location of the constrictions. The mildest constrictions affect only the superficial skin and may not require treatment. Deeper constrictions may block lymphatic vessels, impair blood flow, and require immediate surgical care.[4] When the bands affect the limbs, the lower part of the limbs are most often involved, especially the middle, long, and index fingers of the hand. When the feet are involved, the bands most commonly affect the big toe.[4]

Pressure from the bands may result in additional abnormalities, such as underdevelopment of a limb, bone abnormalities, amputations, leg-length discrepancy, and club feet. Constriction bands across the head and face may lead to facial clefts. Severe clefts affecting vital organs are often life-threatening.[4]

Last updated: 11/1/2013

How might amniotic band syndrome be treated?

Mild cases may not require treatment, however all bands need monitoring as growth occurs to watch for progressive constriction and swelling. Other constrictions may require surgical management; surgical options will vary depending on the abnormality. People with amniotic band syndrome who have amputations may benefit from the use of prosthetics.[4]
Last updated: 10/3/2013

What kind of physicians treat people with amniotic band syndrome of the hand/wrist?

A variety of different specialist may be involved in the medical management of fetuses, infants, children, and adults with amniotic band syndrome depending upon the individuals symptoms, complications (if any), as well as the family’s preferences. People with amniotic band syndrome of the hand/wrist may benefit from a consultation with a plastic and/or hand surgeon. The following professional organizations can help you find professionals in your area.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation
444 E. Algonquin Rd.
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Web site:
Physician finder:

American Society for Surgery of the Hand
6300 North River Road, Suite 600
Rosemont, IL 60018
Phone: (847) 384-8300
Fax: (847) 384-1435
Web site:  
Physician finder:

Last updated: 10/17/2013

What is the prognosis of amniotic band syndrome?

Because the prognosis of people with amniotic band syndrome can vary from patient to patient, the best person to provide your family with information regarding your child's prognosis, is the health care providers involved in their care. In general, the outlook for infants with a single band involving the superficial skin of the wrist and/or hand is good. While the family and child will need to adjust to the cosmetic difference, the functional use of the hand is normal. Deeper bands can be associated with complications (i.e., blockage of lymph and blood vessels) that can worsen over time and may require surgery. Some people with amniotic band syndrome are born with acrosyndactyly, a fusion of the fingers that may limit the hand function and cause stiffness of the joints. In many cases a good ability to hold and grasp may be obtained with reconstructive procedures.[4]
Last updated: 11/1/2013

How can I find other families with a child with amniotic band syndrome of the hand/wrist?

Your family may benefit from speaking with other families with infants with amniotic band syndrome of the hand and/or wrist. The following organizations provide opportunities for you to connect with other families and patients and have additional supportive and informational resources that you may find helpful.

Amniotic Band Syndrome
Web site:

Helping Hands Foundation
P.O. Box 332
Medfield, MA 02052
Web mail:
Web site:

515 NW Saltzman Road #767
Portland, Oregon 97229-6098
Phone: 866-292-1430
Online Web form:
Web site:

Last updated: 3/29/2013