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Arthrogryposis (multiplex congenita) is a clinical or imaging descriptor that denotes congenital non-progressive joint contractures involving two or more body regions. 

Mostly reported in individuals of Asian, African and European descent with equal incidence in males and females 11. It is thought to occur in approximately 1:3000-10,000 live births 6,8.

It can result from a number of pathologies. Altered fetal movement (fetal akinesia) is considered a contributor in pathogenesis. Genetic causes may be present in only 30% of cases.

Arthrogryposis can be associated with numerous syndromic as well as non-syndromic associations: Over 400 medical conditions and 350 known genes with considerable variability in phenotypic expression.

A lack of fetal movement is considered to be a key feature. Abnormalities are present at birth and are not progressive over time. Fixed contractures and lack of mobility results in poor muscle formation and development in affected regions. 

Antenatal ultrasound may additionally show direct evidence of contractures such as:

and/or indirect features such as:

The prognosis is highly variable and is dependent on associated anomalies and severity.

The term arthrogryposis is derived from the Greek words meaning "curved or hooked joints". 

Article information

rID: 13031
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita
  • Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC)
  • Fetal joint contractures
  • Fetal limb contractures

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: Freeman Sheldon syndrome
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  • Case 4
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