Amniotic band syndrome (ABS) is a condition in which the fetus developing inside the womb gets trapped around in the fibrous network of the amniotic sac (the layer inside the uterus in which the fetus develops). In certain cases, the band or mesh is wrapped around the fetus’s head or umbilical cord. Whereas in most cases, the mesh is wrapped around a particular organ, hand, or toes, causing the fetus to feel severe constriction or pressure. It exactly feels like when a person ties a rubber band around his or her arm or leg.
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What are the causes of amniotic band syndrome?
Due to injury in the amnion membrane, its bands (tissue) are broken and tangled around the fetus. But the exact cause of this disease is not yet known. Doctors say that this disease cannot be considered genetic. Many times, this can happen without any apparent reason. Amniotic band syndrome is quite rare as it occurs only in 1 between 10-15 thousand infants. Researchers find that it is more frequent in the hand fingers than in the toes.
What are the symptoms of amniotic band syndrome?
- ● Severe inflammation
- ● Obstruction of lymph or vein flow
- ● No development of hands or feet due to interference
- ● If the fibrous mesh is too tight, it may also cause the baby’s arms or legs to be cut off inside the womb (before birth).
How is amniotic band syndrome diagnosed?
Amniotic band syndrome can be detected 12 weeks after the woman’s pregnancy. Although sometimes, it is difficult to see the band with the help of ultrasound. For this, doctors diagnose amniotic band syndrome by observing the symptoms of birth-defects.
With a doctor’s suspicion, the woman may be referred to a maternal-fetal specialist for an examination. These doctors test and treat major defects that occur during pregnancy.
Many times the ABS is found during the physical diagnosis of the newborn just-after delivery.
What is the treatment of amniotic band syndrome?
- ● Surgery
This surgery aims to eliminate the constriction or contraction that the fetus is experiencing due to amniotic band or mesh. Operative fetoscopy is used to complete the process, which makes the amniotic plexus visible clearly, then the fetus is freed from the mesh with the different types of surgical methods. ABS surgery success depends on how much damage the fetus has to deal with by the amniotic plexus—if there is swelling in the outer part of that individual organ, then removing the mesh reduces the swelling and helps in the normal development of the organ.
- ● Post-birth treatment
After birth treatment of ABS includes reconstructive and plastic surgery followed by physical and professional therapy. The need for surgery depends on the type of disability or deformity. It is also suggested to use a prosthetic body part if the child has any part cut off or does not function properly.
What are the complications of amniotic band syndrome?
- ● When the frontal part of the limb is compressed, the external tissue can become inflamed.
- ● The child’s physical development becomes abnormal, due to which there is a risk of physical disability and may need the complete cut of the organ.
In some rare circumstances, the development of other parts of the body may also be affected due to amniotic plexus. For example:
- ● A band or mesh that passes over the face may also be related to a cleft lip or a cleft palate.
- ● If the fetus’s umbilical cord gets constricted by bands, then the fetus may die due to obstruction in the blood supply.
These two complications are relatively rare.
Conclusion for Amniotic band syndrome
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What Defects Can my Baby have Due to ABS?
- ● Anencephaly
- ● Abdominal wall disorders
- ● Encephalocele
- ● Asymmetric face
- ● Clefting of face
- ● Spinal deformities
It is also possible that your baby may have more than one defect.