Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita

By

Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd

, MD, University of California, Davis

Last full review/revision May 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita refers to a variety of conditions that involve limited joint movement.

Any condition that impairs the movement of the baby while in the womb can result in arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Such causes may involve

Symptoms

In infants with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a number of joints become curved and "frozen" and consequently cannot bend. Many infants have weakened muscles. Decreased movement of the baby's muscles and joints while in the womb likely cause the decreased movement of the joints after birth. Sometimes the nerves that would normally move the bones in the affected joints are also impaired. Infants with arthrogryposis may also have dislocated hips, knees, or elbows.

Diagnosis

  • A doctor's evaluation

  • Genetic testing

After birth, doctors do a physical examination and note the baby's frozen joints and limbs. Doctors then do genetic testing by analyzing a sample of the baby's blood to look for chromosome and gene abnormalities. This testing can help doctors determine whether a specific disorder is the cause and rule out other causes.

Tests of the muscles, such as a muscle biopsy (removal of a sample of muscle for examination) and electromyography Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies Diagnostic procedures may be needed to confirm a diagnosis suggested by the medical history and neurologic examination. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a simple, painless procedure in which... read more Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Studies (EMG), may be done to help doctors distinguish between various types of arthrogryposis.

Prognosis

Babies born with arthrogryposis typically develop relatively normal intelligence, except when the arthrogryposis is caused by a disorder or syndrome that also affects intelligence. Doctors seek to establish a specific diagnosis for what has caused the arthrogryposis so that parents know what the prognosis is and can receive genetic counseling.

Treatment

  • Casts and physical therapy

  • Sometimes surgery

Surgery may be needed to free the bones from attached tissue in order to have more normal joint movement. Surgically moving a muscle (for example, moving the triceps muscle so that it can flex rather than extend the elbow) may improve function.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Preventive Health Care Visits in Infants
Frequent doctor visits are recommended for all infants younger than 1 year of age. These visits, also called well-child visits, make it possible to check development, look for health problems, provide age-appropriate vaccinations, and educate parents. Which of the following is a condition that might affect some infants born very prematurely, with less than 32 weeks of development in the uterus?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP