Poland Syndrome is a rare birth defect characterized by underdevelopment or absence of the chest muscle on one side of the body and (but not always) webbing of the fingers of the hand on the same side mostly common on the right side of the body and found more in males than females.
It is usually considered a unilateral condition. Some have claimed that the term can be applied in bilateral presentation, but others recommend using alternate terminology in those cases.
It was first named in 1962 by Patrick Clarkson a British plastic surgeon working at Guy’s Hospital and Queen Mary’s Hospital.
He noticed that three of his patients had both a hand deformity and an underdeveloped breast on the same side.
He discussed this with his colleague, Dr. Philip Evans. Clarkson found a reference to a similar deformity published by Alfred Poland, over one hundred years earlier in Guy’s Hospital reports, in 1841.
Who Does Poland Syndrome Affect?
Poland syndrome affects males three times as often as females and affects the right side of the body twice as often as the left. The incidence is estimated to range from one in 7,000 to one in 100,000 live births.
The cause of Poland syndrome is unknown. However, an interruption of the embryonic blood supply to the arteries that lie under the collarbone at about the 46th day of embryonic development is the prevailing theory.
Reconstructive surgery is the main treatment for those with Poland syndrome. Either existing chest muscle or transplanting muscle from another body area may be used to develop symmetry between the affected and unaffected side.
If chest-wall ribs are underdeveloped or missing, bioengineered cartilage can be implanted to help give the chest a more normal appearance. Reconstructive surgery may be considered in males as young as 13 years of age.
In females, in order to ensure breast similarity in size and character, reconstructive surgery is often postponed until breast development on the uninvolved side has been completed. Therapeutic tattooing can be uses to create the appearance of an areola and nipple.
What Our Patients Are Saying About This Procedure
Hi Dr. Singh… Just wanted to let you know that my daughter continues to be very happy with her decision to have the surgery. She says she has no regrets and is just so happy that she no longer has to put the prosthesis in her bra. She told everyone on the Poland website your name and they should call you if they live near Baltimore or D.C. She felt that you listened to what she had to say and put in the exact size implants she wanted. It is amazing how she no longer cries when she talks about it.
-Mother of a patient with Poland Syndrome-underdeveloped breast and pectoralis muscle
Dr. Singh, I just wanted to let you know that 6 months later I am still so happy with the results from the surgery to correct my Poland Syndrome. You did an amazing job. This summer I’ve been able to actually enjoy bathing suit shopping, without being limited by what would hide my PS. I feel so much more confident now, and I’m so much happier. After years of wearing a prosthesis I feel like I’m finally free. Now that I no longer have to try and hide my PS, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Having the surgery has made life so much easier, and now every morning when I get dressed I’m happy with the way I look. Now when I talk about my PS, I no longer have to fight back tears. Thank you so much, this has truly changed my life.