What Is ABS (Amniotic Band Syndrome)?

Amniotic Band Syndrome, also known as ABS, amnion rupture sequence, amniotic bands, constriction band syndrome or Streeter dysplasia (just to name a few) is a congenital birth “defect” occurring in anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 live births. The bands can become wrapped around the unborn baby’s arms/hands (most common) legs/feet, face/head and sometimes even the torso or umbilical cord. While every ABS case is unique, banding of the legs, arms, feet and hands can result in indentations, severely restricted growth, limb length differences, clubfeet, webbing of the fingers and/or toes (syndactyly) and sometimes full amputation of the limb or digits. Banding early on in the pregnancy can also occasionally lead to spontaneous abortion/miscarriage.

What causes ABS? A hypothesis from 1930 by George Streeter suggests the bands are due to a germ plasm defect. He reasoned that the defect caused soft tissue to be sloughed. External healing of the sloughed tissue resulted in the restricting bands and presented abnormalities. The mostly widely accepted explanation of the cause of ABS today, however, suggests an external source. As early as the 300s B.C. Hippocrates suggested that pressures from a ruptured amniotic membrane led to the formation of amniotic bands. This suggestion was echoed in 1965 by Richard Torpin. ABS has been found to affect males and females equally and has no inherent or genetic components.

***Please keep in mind that I have no medical training and am not a doctor nor medical professional. I am simply an amputee as the result of amniotic band syndrome myself and wish to share all that I have experienced, researched and learned with others. Please be sure to consult your physician or other medical personnel for diagnosis and treatment.