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Amniotic Band Syndrome

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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?

Some scientists believe that the amniotic band syndrome occurs when the amnion (the membrane closest to the embryo) is injured, but the outer membrane chorion remains intact.


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?

Many times, due to amniotic band syndrome, there is not much damage. Only a blunt scar is formed around the finger or another part of the child. But if that fibrous mesh is too deep, then it can cause some serious problems such as:

  • ● 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?

Mostly it is difficult to detect amniotic band syndrome before birth, but sometimes the disease can be detected through an ultrasound.

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?

Some treatment choices for ABS are available, including surgery of the fetus inside the uterus and correction of abnormalities seen in the body after delivery.

  • 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 front end of an organ gets stuck in the amniotic plexus, there is a risk of several problems in the outside tissue or distal end of that organ.

  • ● 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

Amniotic band syndrome is a condition in which the fetus’s development is affected, and several birth-defects can occur. The real cause of this disease is not yet known. So, the avoidance of ABS is not possible. The disease is rare, seen one between every 15000 births. It is usually challenging to diagnose. After diagnosis, the condition is treated through surgery.

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What Defects Can my Baby have Due to ABS?

Due to Amniotic Band Syndrome, your baby may have:

  • ● 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.

Is the Mother Also at Risk Due to ABS?

No, there is no risk to the mother. Pregnancy is normal after having Amniotic Band Syndrome. It only affects your child.

What will be the Condition of the Child After Birth?

If your baby is born with the closed Amniotic Syndrome, your child may need instant surgery. It is a reconstructive surgery in which an attempt is made to repair your child’s injured limbs. The doctor may also recommend plastic surgery.

Does Amniotic Band Syndrome Cause Pain to my Baby?

No, generally not. It doesn’t cause any pain to the baby. If the mesh is tightly attached to the baby, it may cause some discomfort.

The Amniotic Band is not Touching My Baby. Do I Need Surgery?

No, if the band is not touching your baby, then you don’t need the surgery. You only need surgery If the band is constricting the umbilical cord or fetus’s body.


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