Poland Syndrome - Signs, Symptoms & Surgery | Dr Zoran Potparic

Poland Syndrome - Signs, Symptoms & Surgery | Dr Zoran Potparic

Poland syndrome before and after

Have you heard of Poland Syndrome?

Poland Syndrome is not a popular topic; nor is it exactly self-explanatory. However, it is estimated to affect approximately 1 in 20,000 newborns (NIH) and these are only the cases that have been reported. Poland Syndrome is a disorder in which one is born with underdeveloped muscles on one side of their chest and possible associated defects of the breast, shoulder, arm, and hand.

Signs of Poland Syndrome may include:

  • Abnormalities on one or both (rarely) sides of the chest, such as underdeveloped or missing part of main chest muscle (pectoralis major), missing armpit hair, and/or asymmetric nipples
  • In females, breast may be underdeveloped or absent on the affected side
  • Rib cage abnormalities, such as shortened or missing ribs
  • Short fingers of the hand on affected side(s)
  • Rarely, abnormalities in internal organs, such as kidneys, lungs and heart

Rarely, abnormalities of the chest and hand occur on both sides, and/or back


Poland Syndrome is a fascinating condition because it has many distinctive characteristics, including that is more likely to occur in men than women. Why? The answer is unknown. What is the cause of Poland Syndrome? The answer is unknown.

Each case of Poland Syndrome is unique as not everyone will have the same presentation. A variety of procedures are available to reduce the signs of Poland Syndrome, such as transfer of muscle from the back, pectoral implants, fat grafting or combinations of these. In female patients, breast reconstruction with implant, fat grafting or a composite flap transfer are available options. Very often, modification and enlargement of nipple and areola may be needed in both male and female patients.

If you or someone you know has Poland Syndrome, Dr. Zoran Potparic, an international expert in this particular condition, is available to discuss surgery and other reconstruction procedures that can improve the appearance and regain the confidence with your body. Dr. Potparic has extensive experience with Poland Syndrome surgeries and has achieved amazing results- both functional and aesthetic (click here to see one of our patient stories).

“It is my preference to offer muscle flap transfer to a patient for reconstruction of this rare and complex condition” says Dr Potparic. “Using latissimus dorsi muscle from patient’s back and transferring it into position of peck (pectoral) muscle, which is missing, creates excellent, cosmetic, and functional results. This muscle is similar in size and shape to the pectoral muscle, and if transferred with its nerves preserved, can allow the patient to use this muscle (latissimus dorsi) the same way he/she would use pectoral muscle. With proper rehabilitation and exercise, the patient can develop this muscle to perfectly match the other pectoral muscle. The absence of the latissimus dorsi muscle from the back is barely visible and functional loss is minimal.

Next option is pectoral implant. These usually have to be custom made to fit better, but standard implants can be used as well. We usually combine implants with fat grafting to camouflage and soften contours of the implant”, explains Dr Potparic.

“In female patients, where deformity also involves breast tissue itself, a more extensive reconstruction is used to address both muscle and breast tissue deficiency. A combination of different techniques, like microvascular free tissue transfer (from buttock to breast), latissimus dorsi muscle transfer, fat grafting, and breast implants, may be needed depending of the presentation and extent of deformity,” Dr Potparic states.

You can find more information on cosmetic surgery for Poland Syndrome. Check out our website for more information about Dr. Zoran Potparic’s experiences and patients stories! To get in touch with the staff at our Fort Lauderdale surgical office, call 954-779-2777 or contact us here.