A Fetus may even have Foot Problems

Even when conditions are rare and uncommon, it is still important provide information when we can. Amniotic Band Syndrome is one of those conditions. 

What is Amniotic Band Syndrome?

This syndrome, also called ABS, is a congenital fetal abnormality. It occurs in the womb and develops when a fetus’ limbs, digits and other fetal parts become entangled in fibrous string-like amniotic bands while in utero. This causes the body parts to lose blood flow and fail to develop properly.

 Common abnormalities associated with this syndrome include: 

  • Webbed fingers and toes
  • Progressive swelling
  • Clubfoot
  • Stunted growth of small bones in fingers and toes

 If a band is wrapped tightly, the result can be constrictions, deformities and even amputation. Lower limbs are commonly affected and many cases result in babies being born with clubfeet. ABS can also cause a discrepancy of limb length. This can cause children to have biomechanical gait pattern abnormalities.

 The amniotic bands can also get wrapped around the umbilical cord, which often results in miscarriage. ABS affects about one in every 1,200 births but is not genetic and happens sporadically.

 Current studies show that early amniotic rupture is what causes the formation of the fibrous strands. The severity of the damage is related to when this rupture happens during a pregnancy and the event that caused the rupture.

 Studies have also shown some risk factors involved with ABS. They include:

  • Prematurity
  • Low birth weight
  • Illness during pregnancy
  • Exposure to drugs
  • Attempted abortion

 There have been some cases in which surgical intervention has restored blood flow and brought full functionality back to the body part involved. Anytime surgery is involved with a baby in utero, the complications and risks are high. A fetal MRI is able to make a prenatal diagnosis of the amniotic bands. Though with this condition being rare, efforts are still being made to develop more minimally invasive techniques to treat this condition and give patients an improved quality of life. 

Please contact our office for further information or treatment. Call us at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment online.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle