Amniotic Constriction Band

Finger at Risk- Amniotic Constriction Band

I have previously posted on Amniotic Constriction Band.  I post again on the topic as it is common and sometimes early surgery can be helpful.

This child was born with an abnormality of the hand including a markedly swollen finger.  There are several important findings in these 2 pictures.

Amniotic constriction band with swollen finger.

Amniotic constriction band with swollen finger.

First, there is a well developed thumb and pinky finger.  That means that this child will have excellent function.  Almost all of life’s activities can be accomplished with a thumb and one other digit.  This includes writing, typing, grasping large objects, and manipulating small objects.  Clearly, the lack of the central 3 digits will impact dexterity and slow the performance of some tasks.  A child born with this hand will learn how to accomplish tasks and will be more functional, for example, that an adult with a trauma causing the loss of the same digits.

If we look closely at the two pictures, there is a dark cord which can be seen just past the swollen digit.  It is a very small amniotic constriction band.  This band is wrapped around the finger and, when noticed, it can be removed.  These bands are not seen in most patients with amniotic constriction band, but one theory on amniotic constriction band holds that the bands may be the cause of the swelling or even amputation of fingers.  Unfortunately, removing the band does not mean that the finger will survive but it may increase the odds.  Sometimes, there is also an area of scarring which may limit blood flow and release of such an area may also increase the likelihood of survival of the finger.
In this patient, the band was removed and an area of scar tissue released in the hoops of allowing better blood flow.  Unfortunately, fingers with this degree of swelling probably will not survive.  Thankfully, as noted above, this child will have excellent function.
Charles A. Goldfarb, MD

My Bio at Washington University

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