Amniotic Band Syndrome

What is Amniotic Band Syndrome?

ABS refers to a situation where the bands develop from the inner lining of the sac surrounding the baby in the womb. It affects the development of some regions in the body resulting in amputation or constriction of the affected area. It occurs when the fetus gets stuck in amniotic bands restricting blood flow and affecting the baby’s development. If a group wraps tightly around a limb, it can destroy it with some abnormal growth in the baby like missing fingers or part of an arm or leg. Also, it is the reason behind several miscarriages when it wraps around the umbilical cord.


The causes for this syndrome is unknown but according to some studies genetic or hereditary are responsible for this syndrome.

  • The Extrinsic theory: Many times the amnion in the amniotic sac damages causing amniotic constriction bands so that they get carried in the amniotic fluid. These bands encircle around the limbs affecting the fetus and its development resulting in malformations physically with other several congenital disabilities.
  • The Intrinsic theory: This theory suggests that if the blood doesn’t flow properly to the fetus, it may affect its development while creating deformities to it.


  • Abdominal wall defect
  • Small-sized toes or fingers
  • Cleft palate and cleft lip
  • Congenital amputation
  • Swelling or edema
  • Indentations around the arms, hands, toes, and legs of the baby
  • Differently sized organs from the other

Other problems which happen include radial dysplasia, hemangioma, defects in the neural tube, anencephaly and limb-body-wall complex. Sometimes it may also cause death and miscarriage by creating problems in the umbilical cord, therefore, restricting the supply of oxygen to the fetus.


  • Baby born without clubfeet
  • Deformity of the nails
  • Distal ring constrictions
  • Congenital band discrepancy
  • Syndactyly (webbed digits)
  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Distal lymphedema (swelling)
  • Cleft palate
  • miscarriages

Other Names

  • Limb-body wall complex
  • Amniotic bands and sheets
  • Amniotic deformity, mutilations, and adhesions
  • Annular constriction bands
  • Streeters dysplasia
  • Amniotic band disruption complex or sequence
  • Congenital ring constriction
  • Constriction band syndrome
  • Amniotic constriction band syndrome
  • TEARS (the early amnion rupture spectrum)
  • Intrauterine amputation
  • Limb-body wall complex
  • Congenital transverse defects or deficiency

What will happen after birth?

A fetus with ABS may require treatment after birth where reconstructive surgery is done to correct deep constriction grooves, cleft lip, clubbed feet or fused fingers which will depend on the deformities caused by the amniotic bands.


In mild cases, a band may wrap around the fingers or toes of the fetus creating amputations. Amniotic bands attached to the neck or face can cause certain deformities including palate and cleft lip. The most severe complication occurs when a band gets wrapped around vital areas like the head or umbilical cord resulting in fetal’s death.

Risk Factors

  • First time conceiving
  • Problematic pregnancies
  • Trauma while pregnant
  • Using misoprostol for abortion or during labor
  • A CVS test (chorionic villus sampling)
  • Mother smoking during pregnancy


X-rays and MRI examine the damage caused along with finding any damage to the vascular and nervous system. Diagnosing prenatal is tough because during the ultrasound of the fetus the amniotic bands remain invisible though any abnormal swelling in the feet and hands may indicate ABS. The constriction bands visible in the 12th week of pregnancy, but the treatment may require a few more tests to access the heartbeat of the baby and several defects related to it.


The treatment depends on the extent of damage as well as the time for making the diagnosis. Mothers of babies with amniotic band constriction get treatment in hospitals before labor to avoid complications.

  • Orthopedic surgery: For treating congenital conditions
  • Plastic surgeries: For correcting the deformities like cleft palate etc.
  • Prosthetics: Involves using artificial fingers or foot to carry out several functions.
  • Compression garments: For controlling occupational edema
  • Occupational theory: Done to provide the patients with a normal life
  • Fetal Surgery: Performs where the amniotic bands tighten the umbilical cord.


According to the statistics, 1 in every 2000 suffers from this syndrome whereas the miscarriages happening due to this disease affects 178 in 10,000 cases.


Those who are suffering from this syndrome can live happily, and the risk of its reoccurring is very low with different outcomes for each type of treatments.

ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes

  • ICD-9 code is 762.8
  • ICD-10 code is O41.8X90

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