Poland Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

How is Poland syndrome diagnosed?

When the changes of Poland Syndrome are noted, the diagnosis can be suspected in the newborn period. Specialized studies (x-rays, computerized tomography [CT scans]) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies may be utilized to delineate the anatomy of the involved area(s). Such an understanding is necessary for reconstructive surgery (see below). Mild cases of Poland syndrome may not be apparent until the child has matured or even until puberty. During this time, differences in body development may be more pronounced—especially in female breast development.

How is Poland syndrome treated?

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 are the related (alternative) terms?

Other names for Poland syndrome include Poland sequence, Poland anomaly, Poland syndactyly, and absence of the pectoralis muscle with syndactyly.

For more information

Poland's syndrome
This is a dedicated site for patients and families. Information, forums and a support network are provided.

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
"Mums is a parent matching organization that puts parents of children with various conditions in touch with other parents of children with the same condition."

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics


Schwartzstein, Richard M., MD. "Diseases of the chest wall." Uptodate. Updated May 29, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2016

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