Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318199f508
Hand/Peripheral Nerve: Special Topic

Poland’s Syndrome: Current Thoughts in the Setting of a Controversy

Ram, Ashwin N. B.S.; Chung, Kevin C. M.D., M.S.

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Summary: Poland’s syndrome is a rare congenital disorder that is characterized by hypoplasia of the pectoralis muscles and ipsilateral webbing of the fingers. The name of this condition pays homage to Dr. Alfred Poland of Guy’s Hospital, who in 1841 described a case of these two deformities during the autopsy of a 27-year-old convict. An exploration of the historical series reveals a clear progression of knowledge about this syndrome, accumulated by scientists across Europe and America. As such, the name “Poland’s syndrome” stands as a point of contention to those who oppose the injudicious use of eponyms in medicine. An analysis of the relevant literature reveals a stepwise understanding of what has come to be known as Poland’s syndrome.

©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons


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