What Is Poland Syndrome?

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By boone
Aug 1, 2020
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Poland syndrome is a congenital condition that causes abnormalities on one side of the body. Areas most often affected are the chest, shoulder, ribs, arm, and hand, usually on the right side. Structures in these areas can be deformed or missing altogether, although the severity of symptoms varies widely among individuals. The condition is not life-threatening and does not affect quality of life or mental function. Celebrities living with the condition include actor Gary Burghoff, Olympic boxer Jérôme Thomas, and PGA Tour golfer Bryce Molder.

Poland syndrome was named for British surgeon Alfred Poland, who in 1841 published results of an autopsied patient showing signs of the condition. However, a French doctor had previously described it in 1803, and disagreement concerning the name continues today. The following are 10 more facts about Poland syndrome, including how to treat it.

1. Underdeveloped Chest Muscles

Most people with Poland syndrome are born without all or part of the pectoralis major on one side of the body. This is the largest chest muscle, located directly under the breast in females or the nipple in males. Smaller chest muscles such as the pectoralis minor and those that line the chest cavity may also be smaller or missing. Consequently, patients have less strength on one side of the body, and their chests can appear sunken in on one side.

People with Poland syndrome may also grow less underarm hair on one side, or grow it in a location not directly inside the armpit. In women, the affected breast contains less mammary tissue, and the nipple may be abnormal or missing altogether. However, patients with Poland syndrome have breastfed successfully, even after reconstructive surgery to the breast.

Poland Syndrome

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