ABS or Amniotic Band Syndrome is an uncommon condition most commonly thought to be caused by the early rupture of the amnion during pregnancy. The rupture results in amniotic bands that insert themselves in the unborn baby. The bands most often affect the extremities but complications can range from ring constrictions to amputations to major organ defects.

Some common abnormalities that are found with ABS include clubfoot, cleft lip, cleft palate and clubhand.


1 in 1,200 to 1 in 15,000 live births

Treatment Options

Most commonly this condition is treated after the birth of the baby. Frequently upon birth the tissues have healed around the bands and “natural” amputation, if applicable, has already occurred. Surgical treatments to release the bands normally begin around 3 months of age. Physical therapy and plastic surgery are often fundamental to the healing and recovery process.

In-utero treatment of ABS has recently become an option when the risk to the mother and baby are minimized. It is the first time surgical treatment has been performed in utero for a non-life threatening birth defect. Although in utero treatment has no guarantees it offers the possibility to release the band(s) which could save a limb or otherwise.


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