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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Arthrogryposis

What is Arthrogryposis?

A child with arthrogyrposis (or arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, AMC) is born with stiffness at many or all joints through out the body. A child with arthogryposis may have only a little stiffness in their joints to more significant deformities caused by joint stiffness. There is often a team of individuals who assist with the child’s care. This may include both the plastic surgery and orthopaedic surgery teams.

How common is this?

One in 3000 children is born with arthrygryposis.

Why Does This Occur?

It is thought that most cases of arthogryposis are not genetically inherited.

What are the Treatment Options?

Little girl wearing anthro splintsChildren with arthogryposis may be seen by a team of specialists. The plastic surgery team specializes in evaluating the child's arm and hand. The best treatment for joint stiffness is a program of stretching and splinting. It is important that parents begin stretching the child's stiff joints early on. This will help them gain the most movement in the joints. The range of motion (ROM) of the child's joints needs to be checked regularly and maintained with stretches and/or splints through out childhood. Surgery may be recommended to loosen the tissues and help to straighten bent joints. Other operations may be helpful to stabilize joints to improve the function of the hand. The Occupational Therapist and Plastic Surgeon will discuss with you the best options for your child. (See the image to the right of: Splinting for arthrogryposis)