Bone fusion in the foetal alcohol syndrome

Z Jaffer, M Nelson, P Beighton
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British Volume 1981, 63B (4): 569-71
Clinical examinations and radiographic skeletal surveys have been carried out in 15 patients with foetal alcohol syndrome. Fusion of the capitate and hamate bones in the carpus was bilateral in one patient and unilateral in two. All three had accessory ossification centres at the proximal ends of both second metacarpals. Two of these patients also had radio-ulnar synostosis. Digital shortening, which was demonstrated by pattern profile analysis, was very variable in degree and anatomical distribution. Other skeletal changes of uncertain significance were a "beaten copper" appearance of the calvarium in four patients, and coxa valga in one other. Diagnosis of the foetal alcohol syndrome warrants consideration in any individual presenting with carpal fusion or with radio-ulnar synostosis.

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