Medical Definition of AMC (arthrogryposis multiplex congenita)

  • Medical Author:
    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.

AMC (arthrogryposis multiplex congenita): AMC stands for arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a disorder that develops before birth (prenatal) is evident at birth (congenital) and involves limited mobility of many (multiple) joints.

In AMC, the range of motion of the joints in the arms and legs is usually limited or fixed. Joints affected in AMC may include the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers and the hips, knees, ankles, and feet -- virtually any and all joints.

The impairment of joint mobility in AMC is often accompanied by overgrowth (proliferation) of fibrous tissue in the joints (fibrous ankylosis).

AMC was once thought to be a single disease. It is clearly many.

The mechanisms responsible for AMC are presumed to be the same as for all arthrogryposis, irrespective of the number of joints involved, and are thought to include:

  • Neurologic deficits
  • Muscle defects
  • Connective tissue and skeletal defects
  • Fetal crowding or fetal constraint
  • Maternal neuromuscular diseases -- myotonic dystrophy and myasthenia gravis.

Arthrogryposis means crooking of the joint. It comes from the Greek "arthro-", joint + "gryposis ", crooking. Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita can be translated (very roughly) as "lots of crooked joints at birth."

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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