Amniotic Band Syndrome

What is amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome, also called constriction ring syndrome, happens when a fetus is still inside its mother’s uterus. The fetus grows inside the amniotic sac, which is made up of fibrous bands. Sometimes, these bands can wrap around the growing fetus. Most commonly, the bands wrap around a limb, fingers, or toes. These bands cause an indentation around a finger or limb; or, more severely, they can cut off blood flow and damage the development of the finger or limb.

How is amniotic band syndrome diagnosed?

Sometimes, amniotic band syndrome is diagnosed on an ultrasound before birth. But it is usually diagnosed at birth or shortly after. Your baby’s doctor can diagnose amniotic band syndrome with a physical exam. X-rays can also help doctors see the severity of the condition.

How is amniotic band syndrome treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the bands or indentations. Surgery is sometimes recommended to improve the function of the hand or finger, as early as 6 months, depending on the severity of the band. If possible, surgery is delayed until the child is at least 2 years old to reduce anesthetic risk. However, bands that are blocking blood flow must be fixed immediately. With surgery and occupational therapy, most children with amniotic band syndrome have excellent long-term hand function.