How is Amniotic Band Syndrome Diagnosed?

Jane Foley's picture

QUESTION

Dear Ms Ultrasound,
We had a ultrasound at 12 weeks. It showed that all the membranes are not attached. The doctor said that it was like rubber bands hanging down. We are very scared and confused. Can they do any thing about this?

ANSWER

Hello, I think what your doctor may be worried about is called amniotic band syndrome. What will happen in your case is that you will go in for multiple ultrasounds to see, if in fact, this is amniotic band syndrome. 12 weeks is a little too early to diagnose this. Sometimes early in pregnancy the layers of the gestational sac have not adhered together yet and can appear to be amniotic bands. I have seen it before in early ultrasound, then on the follow up what appeared to be bands, are gone.

If this is in fact amniotic bands, there is nothing you can really do about it. I have seen amniotic band syndrome only 2-3 times in my career. (27 years) It is quite rare.

The problem is the possibility of a fetus getting an extremity or digit caught in the band, and having it cut off the blood flow to that body part causing the loss of that part of the anatomy. Sometimes, nothing happens with an amniotic band and a normal child is born.

What I would suggest is that you let the worry go for now. Know that the syndrome is rare and that early ultrasound can mimic this abnormality. Stay hopeful and positive while you wait. I believe strongly that a mentally healthy Mommy aids in good development of the fetus.

-- Jane, RDMS