Poland Syndrome

Named for British anatomist Sir Alfred Poland, Poland Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes one-sided malformations of the body. The condition is characterized by the underdevelopment or absence of chest muscles on one side of the body. People with Poland Syndrome also have webbed fingers on the hand on that side of the body. A portion of the breastbone is also missing.

What Causes Poland Syndrome? No one knows the cause of Poland Syndrome. Sometimes called Poland’s anomaly, the rare congenital condition, present at birth, is more common in boys than girls. It tends to affect the right side of the body more often than the left side. As with the cause, the reason for these differences is unknown. 

Features Of Poland Syndrome The most frequent feature of Poland Syndrome is a missing chest muscle on one side of the body. Nearby chest muscles and armpit hair may also be missing on the same side of the body. If a girl has Poland Syndrome, a breast is usually absent on the affected side of the body. Both boys and girls may have webbing and shortening of the fingers on the hand on that side of the body. Reconstructive surgery is the main treatment for these conditions.  

Other anomalies can also occur with Poland Syndrome. These include defects of the diaphragm, arm bones, liver, and kidneys; an abnormal digestive tract; and a heart on the right side of the body.  

Famous People With Poland Syndrome Include Bryce Molder. Bryce Molder is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He was born with Poland Syndrome, manifested by a concave chest and a small left hand with webbed fingers, for which he had surgeries before he was five years old.

Shawn Graves. Shawn Graves was one of the best small-college football players in the early 1990s. Born with a missing pectoral muscle, he did not allow his disability to get in the way of his football career as a star quarterback for South Carolina’s Wofford College.

Jeremy Beadle. Jeremy Beadle was an English television writer, producer, and presenter. He was the first mainstream presenter with a visible disability, an unusually small right hand due to Poland Syndrome.

Dave Holker. Dave Holker was a state finalist in Utah’s high school boys wrestling in the late 1990s. He was born with a webbed left hand and no bones. Despite surgery to create fingers, he still had no grip and little strength in that hand, yet he had an impressive wrestling career.

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