Amniotic constriction bands
Amniotic constriction bands are strands of the fluid-filled sac (amniotic sac) that surrounds a baby in the womb. They may cause a congenital (present from birth) deformity of the face, arms, legs, fingers, or toes.
Pseudo-ainhum; Streeter's dysplasia; Amniotic band sequence; Amniotic band syndrome
Amniotic constriction bands are caused by damage to a part of the placenta called the amnion. The placenta carries blood to a baby still growing in the womb. Damage to the placenta can prevent normal growth development.
Damage to the amnion may produce fiber-like bands that can trap parts of the developing baby. These bands reduce blood supply to the areas and cause them to develop abnormally.
Amniotic constriction bands are rare.
The severity of the deformity can vary widely, from only one toe or finger being affected to an entire arm or leg missing or being severely underdeveloped. Symptoms may include:
- Abnormal gap in the face (if it goes across the face, it is called a cleft)
- All or part of an arm or leg missing (congenital amputation)
- Defect of the abdomen or chest wall (if band is located in those areas)
- Permanent band or indentation around an arm, leg, finger, or toe
Exams and Tests
The health care provider can diagnose this condition during a physical exam. The disease is usually diagnosed at birth.
Treatment widely varies. Often, the deformity is not severe and no treatment is needed. In more serious cases, major surgery may be needed to reconstruct all or part of an arm or leg.
How well the infant does depends on the severity of the disease. Most cases are mild and the outlook for normal function is excellent. More severe cases have more guarded outcomes.
Complications can include complete or partial loss of function of an arm or a leg. Congenital bands affecting the hand often cause the most problems.
Reviewed By:Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency
or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional
should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911
for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they
do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.
Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.