Sarah Herron, a contestant on the hit television show The Bachelor, was born with only one arm. A condition known as amniotic band syndrome is to blame for the missing arm, but Sarah doesn’t consider her missing limb a setback at all. As a matter of fact, she credits her disability for being the first woman chosen for a one-on-one date with Bachelor Sean Lowe.
What is Amniotic Band Syndrome?
When part of the amniotic sac ruptures and only the amnion is affected, fibrous bands from the amnion float in the amniotic fluid. One or more limbs can be entrapped in the fibrous bands. As the fetus grows the bands restrict growth of the limb, cut off circulation and, in some cases, amputate the limb from the rest of the body. If the limb stays intact in utero, lack of circulation can result in a “dead” limb that must be surgically removed after birth. There is also a high incidence of cleft palate associated with amniotic band syndrome, though Herron is not affected by this condition.
How Did Amniotic Band Syndrome Affect Sarah Herron?
Sarah’s left arm became entangled in the fibrous bands during development. The bands constricted her arm just above the elbow. The constriction continued to the point of amputation so Sarah was born with an incomplete left arm.
Are There Options for Treatment In Utero?
In-utero surgery is an option if the condition is diagnosed via ultrasound, but surgery on the fetus is rare unless vital organs or the umbilical cord are affected. Surgeries have been successfully completed on fetuses as young as 22 weeks gestation, though doctors typically wait until at least the 28th week of gestation to attempt surgery.
What are the Treatment Options After Birth?
If amniotic band syndrome causes deformity, cosmetic surgery can be used to correct the deformity, up to the limits of cosmetic surgery. Not all patients are eligible for reconstructive surgery, as is the case with The Bachelor’s Sarah Herron. However, Herron does have the option of being fitted for a prosthesis. But, at this point in her life, Sarah has come to terms with her condition and it doesn’t look like her missing limb is causing bumps in the road.