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Amniotic Band Syndrome

Our long experience with prenatal diagnosis and planning for optimum care allows us to offer the highest quality treatment whether intervention is indicated before or after birth.

Under the direction of Dr. Michael Harrison, the Fetal Treatment Center was the first institution to develop fetal surgery techniques. The first open fetal surgery in the world was performed at UCSF since the early 1980's. We presently have more experience with fetal surgery and endoscopic fetal intervention (FETENDO fetal surgery) than any other institution in the world. We are dedicated to fetal research and treatment innovation.

What is amniotic band syndrome?

watch video Amniotic band syndrome is a rare condition caused by strands of the amniotic sac that separate and entangle digits, limbs, or other parts of the fetus. This constriction can cause a variety of problems depending on where strands are located and how tightly they are wrapped.

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What is the outcome for a fetus with amniotic band syndrome?

watch video The complications from the amniotic band syndrome can range from mild to severe. Mild complications include syndactyly, or amputations of fingers or toes, and severe cases can result in clubbed feet or limb amputations. If the amniotic bands wrap around vital areas such as the umbilical cord they can become life threatening for the fetus.

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How serious is my fetus’s amniotic band syndrome?

watch video Each case is unique, multiple strands may be entangled around the fetus, and the severity can range from mild to life-threatening depending on where the bands are constricting and how tightly they are wound.

If there is evidence of amniotic bands, a detailed ultrasound test should be done to assess the severity and avoid a misdiagnosis.

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What are my choices during this pregnancy?

Amniotic band syndrome causes no increased risk for the mother during pregnancy. Most complications of amniotic bands are handled after birth. For more severe cases, a detailed assessment of your situation is necessary before fetal surgery can be considered as an option.

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What will happen after birth?

A fetus with amniotic bands syndrome may require treatment after birth. Occasionally reconstructive surgery might be needed to correct deep constriction grooves, fused fingers or toes, cleft lip, or clubbed feet. Your child's surgical needs will range from minor to complicated depending on the extent of the deformities caused by the amniotic bands.

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Last Updated: 2/8/2012

The Risner Family

Mother tells the story of her experience of the diagnosis of amniotic band syndrom, and her care at UCSF.

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Thomas Merkord

There was a band wrapped so tightly around Thomas's left ankle that his foot was going to self amputate.

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