Poland syndrome is named after Alfred Poland and is not associated with the country Poland. He was the first to describe the syndrome which he discovered dissecting the body of a deceased convict named George Elt in 1841 in London.

Poland's syndrome or sequence may have all or some of the following effects:
  • absence or underdevelopment of the pectoralis major muscle and varying associated muscles on one side
  • the problem usually occurs on the right side (>75% of the time)
  • total absence of the breast and nipple tissue in females (on the affected side only)
  • varying degrees of webbed and shortened fingers on one hand (on the same side)
  • an incidence of 1 per 20,000 live births
  • affects males 2 to 3 times more than females
  • Serratus anterior and latissimus dorsi muscle involvement is also possible
  • Patchy absence of axillary hair
  • may be associated with more severe finger and arm involvement or vertebral or kidney problems but rare


The intelligence is normal.

Although the syndrome is congenital it is not felt to be entirely a genetic disorder since one twin can be affected and not their identical twin. Diminished blood flow to the affected arm in utero may be a factor

Reconstructive surgery is the current treatment. This may be done using a pectoral implant for men and/or women and/or a breast implant for women. Some switching about of the patient's existing musculature and various hand surgeries are also done.

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