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Treatment for amniotic band syndrome will be tailored to your baby and how the bands affect them.

If the bands are shallow and don’t cause any symptoms or health problems, your baby may not need any treatment. Even so, surgery may be an option to give the affected body part a more typical look.

Some babies need surgery – sometimes right after birth – to correct or prevent problems caused by the bands. The main concerns are that bands can reduce blood and lymph flow or press on nerves.

Amniotic Band Syndrome Treatment Options

Surgery to release bands

If an amniotic band constricts a baby’s tissues, doctors perform surgery to release the band. The surgery requires careful work around the baby’s blood vessels and nerves. The exact method the surgeon uses will depend on details of your baby’s bands, like the number of bands, where they are and how deep and close they are.

Typically, the surgeon makes cuts (incisions) in the skin along the band. The surgeon removes extra or fragile skin that went down into the crease in your baby’s soft tissue.

Next the surgeon makes zigzag cuts in your baby’s skin above and below the band. This is called Z-plasty. It creates pointed flaps of skin. Then surgeon gives a more normal contour to your baby’s soft tissue under the skin.

Finally, the surgeon brings the pointed flaps of skin together from above and below the band and closes the incisions. The zigzag method helps prevent scars that could restrict the tissue later.

The doctor will want your child to come back for follow-up visits to make sure they are healing well.

Surgery timing

The timing of surgery depends on the effects of the bands. Your baby may need urgent surgery in the days right after birth if bands press deeply on blood vessels or nerves, or if they cause serious swelling (lymphedema) or other problems. If not, the doctor may recommend waiting to do surgery until your baby is at least 6 months old.

Most of the time, surgery for amniotic bands is done as day surgery. Based on how your baby is affected, they may need more than one surgery.

Other treatments

Other treatments will depend on your baby’s needs. They may include:

  • Surgery to move affected bones into a better position (realignment surgery)
  • Garments that apply pressure to control swelling (compression garments)
  • Tools that help your child do things on their own (adaptive equipment)
  • Prosthetics to replace missing body parts

If your baby has another condition linked to amniotic band syndrome – like syndactyly, clubfoot, cleft lip and palate or gastroschisis – they may need surgery or other treatment for this condition, too.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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Download Summer 2014 (PDF)