Baby Missing Hand Due to Amniotic Banding

QUESTION

Dear Ms Ultrasound,I wanted to ask a question. My daughter-in-law is at the end of her 4th month in her pregnancy. She just had an ultrasound and the doctor told us that the baby is missing a left hand due to amniotic banding. It was very hard for us to accept.

She is scheduled to have another one in two and a half weeks but we have no hope that she could be wrong. Please send me something so we can understand this syndrome a little better. I thank you so much.

Marie

ANSWER

Hi Marie,
Amniotic band syndrome is an uncommon occurrence. It is not a genetic problem and the risks of it happening in a future pregnancy is almost nonexistent. Here's a good way to understand the bands that form through the gestational sac. Picture a balloon filled with water. Imagine a flower floating inside the water with petals and a stem. Then picture a network of rubber bands pulled from wall to wall in random places throughout the water filled balloon.

As time goes on in a pregnancy, imagine this flower (the baby) growing. The rubber band, might tangle around a petal or the stem or nothing at all. If the band tangles around a part or a part pushes through a band, the circulation is cut off and that part dies. This is what happened to the baby's hand. I think you won't really know the exact extent of the extremity loss until birth. The baby may have lost only the fingers and not the entire hand.I have a friend that had a baby with amniotic band syndrome. This beautiful little girl is missing most of her fingers and has band marks on her leg. Other than this, she is perfectly normal and is now a well adjusted 9-year-old.

Be careful not to become hopeless with this baby. I strongly believe the baby is effected by the thoughts and outlook of Mommy. You most probably have an otherwise normal, healthy baby who needs good, positive, hopeful parents and family to conqueror beginning life with an added obstacle.

Please write me again if you have any new questions or are unclear of something the doctor may have told you after the next ultrasound.

-- Jane, RDMS

Jane Foley

Jane Foley has worked as a Sonographer (Ultrasound Technologist) since 1979. Jane has lived and worked in many parts of the world including Saudi Arabia. She is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer or RDMS. She pulls a wealth of information from her experience in the field of Radiology and her interactions with such a broad cross-section of cultures she has visited. She now makes her home on the island of Maui with her English husband, Michael.