Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), or simply arthrogryposis, describes congenital joint contractures in two or more areas of the body. It derives its name from Greek, literally meaning curving of joints (arthron, joint; grȳpōsis, late Latin form of late Greek grūpōsis, hooking).[1] Children born with one or more joint contractures have abnormal fibrosis of the muscle tissue causing muscle shortening, and therefore are unable to perform passive extension and flexion in the affected joint or joints. AMC has been divided into three groups: amyoplasia, distal arthrogryposis, and syndromic. Amyoplasia is characterized by severe joint contractures and muscle weakness. Distal arthrogryposis mainly involves the hands and feet. Types of arthrogryposis with a primary neurological or muscle disease belong to the syndromic group.

Almost every joint in a patient with arthrogryposis is often affected; in 84% all limbs are involved, in 11% only the legs, and in 4% only the arms are involved. Every joint in the body has typical signs and symptoms like the shoulder (internal rotation), wrist (volar and ulnar), hand (fingers in fixed flexion and thumb in palm), hip (flexed, abducted and externally rotated, frequently dislocated), elbow (extension and pronation) and foot (clubfoot). The range of motion capability can be different between joints because of the different deviations. Some types of arthrogryposis like amyoplasia have a symmetrical joint/limb involvement, with normal sensations.The contractures in the joints are sometimes resulting in a reduced walking development in the first 5 years. The intelligence is normal to above normal in children with amyoplasia.But it is unknown how many of these children have an above normal intelligence and there is no literature available about the cause of this syndrome. There are a few syndromes like the Freeman-Sheldon and Gordon syndrome, which have craniofacial involvement. The amyoplasia form of arthrogryposis is sometimes accompanied with a midline facial hemangioma.Arthrogryposis is not a diagnosis but a clinical finding. So this disease is often accompanied with other syndromes or diseases. These other diagnoses can be found in every single organ in a patient. There are a few slightly more common diagnoses such as pulmonary hypoplasia, cryptorchidism, congenital heart defects, tracheoesophageal fistulas, inguinal hernias, cleft palate, and eye abnormalities. Research of arthrogryposis has shown that anything that inhibits normal joint movement before birth can result in joint contractures. Arthrogryposis could be caused by genetic and environmental factors. In principle: any factor that curtails fetal movement can result to congenital contractures. The exact causes of arthrogryposis are unknown yet. The malformations of arthrogryposis can be secondary to environmental factors such as: decreased intrauterine movement, oligohydramnios (low volume or abnormal distribution of intrauterine fluid), and defects in the fetal blood supply. Other causes could be: hyperthermia, limb immobilization and viral infections. Myasthenia gravis of the mother leads also in rare cases to arthrogryposis. The major cause in humans is fetal akinesia. However, this is disputed lately. Loss of muscle mass with an imbalance of muscle power at the joint can lead to connective tissue abnormality. This leads to joint fixation and reduced fetal movement.[2] Also muscle abnormalities could lead to a reduction of fetal movement. Those could be: dystrophy, myopathy and mitochondrial disorders. This is mostly the result of abnormal function of the dystrophin-glycoprotein-associated complex in the sarcolemma of skeletal muscles. Thumb surgery The soft tissue envelope in congenital contractual conditions such as clasped or arthrogrypotic thumbs is often deficient in two planes, the thumb-index web and the flexor aspect of the thumb. There is often an appearance of increased skin at the base of the index finger that is part of the deformity. This tissue can be used to resurface the thumb-index web after a comprehensive release of all the tight structures to allow for a larger range of motion of the thumb. This technique is called the index rotation flap. The flap is taken from the radial side of the index finger. It is proximally based at the distal edge of the thumb-index web. The flap is made as wide as possible, but still small enough to close with the excessive skin on the palmar side of the index finger. The flap is rotated around the tightest part of the thumb to the metacarpophalangeal joint of the thumb, allowing for a larger range of motion.

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