Amniotic Band Syndrome

What is amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome occurs when fibrous bands of the amniotic sac (the lining inside the uterus that contains a fetus) become entangled around a developing fetus. In some cases, the bands wrap around the fetus's head or umbilical cord. More commonly though, the bands wrap around a limb, fingers, or toes, creating severe constrictions. It’s similar to what happens when you wrap a rubber band around your arm or leg.


Amniotic syndrome is also known as:

  • ADAM Complex
  • amniotic band sequence
  • amniotic disruption complex
  • amniochorionic mesoblastic fibrous strings
  • congenital amputation
  • constriction ring syndrome
  • vongenital constricting bands
  • streeter bands
  • tissue bands

What causes amniotic band syndrome?

The exact cause of the syndrome is unknown, but it’s not believed to be hereditary. Many times, it seems to occur for no apparent reason. Amniotic band syndrome occurs in about 1 in every 10,000 to 15,000 babies. Researchers think it occurs more frequently in the fingers than in the toes.

What are the symptoms of amniotic band syndrome?

Amniotic band syndrome sometimes results in nothing more than an unsightly, circular indentation around your child’s finger or limb.

Deeper bands can cause some more serious problems:

  • severe swelling
  • restriction of the lymphatic or venous flow
  • interference with development of the arm or leg

If a band is tight enough, the constriction may even cause an in utero (before birth) amputation of the arm or the leg.

How we care for amniotic band syndrome

The Orthopedic Center’s Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program and our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery's Hand and Microsurgery Reconstructive Program have treated thousands of babies and children with amniotic band syndrome and other hand problems. We are experienced treating conditions that range from routine to highly complex, and can provide your child with expert diagnosis, treatment, and care. We also offer the benefits of some of the most advanced clinical and scientific research in the world.

Our Orthopedic Center is nationally known as the preeminent center for the care of children and young adults with a wide range of developmental, congenital, neuromuscular, sports related, traumatic, and post-traumatic problems of the musculoskeletal system.

Our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery is one of the largest and most experienced pediatric plastic and oral surgery centers anywhere in the world. We provide comprehensive care and treatment for a wide variety of congenital and acquired conditions, including hand deformities.