Poland Syndrome is a rare birth defect which is estimated to affecct around 2 -3 babies born a month in the UK. More if you look across the world.
Poland Syndrome is often not diagnosed correctly when a baby is born. Visually a baby with Poland Syndrome may have webbed or joined fingers or missing digits on one-hand. But this alone doesn’t mean the child has Poland Syndrome. Syndactyly (the condition of having some or all of the fingers or toes wholly or partly united, either naturally (as in web-footed animals) or as a malformation.) occurs in a number of syndromes or just one its own.
It has been estimated that around 10% of babies born with syndactyly also have Poland Syndrome. With Poland Syndrome the other characteristic is higher up the body in the chest area on the same side as the baby’s uniquely formed hand. The muscles of the chest area namely the pectoral muscles may be absent or not fully formed. There may also be ribs missing or not completely formed. The characteristic of the chest area may not be noticed until the child gets older. Then the chest on one side may appear “sunken”.
Having missing muscles does cause some problems for a person. But nothing that can not be overcome. Babies learn to crawl without this muscle and what we see as a baby adapting is actually them just learning and working out how to do it themselves.
It is recommended by medical professionals that a scan be done of the chest area as soon as Poland Syndrome is detected. Whilst Poland Syndrome is not normally life threatening there can be concerns or complications. For example missing or incomplete ribs could cause punctured lung if not properly dealt with. Knowing that your child has missing muscles or incomplete muscles makes you more prepared for when he or she gets a cold. Poland Syndrome can mean it’s harder to cough due to the muscle deficiency.
Living with Poland Syndrome throws it’s challenges. If you are a parent who has just found out their child has Poland Syndrome please don’t be alarmed we invite you to stop a while and have a wander through our site. There are many amazing and inspiring stories to be found here.