Media Depiction of Birth Differences of the Upper Extremity: Accuracy of Shared Diagnoses

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Background: To assess the diagnostic accuracy of public representation of congenital differences of the upper extremities. We hypothesized that there is an over-diagnosis of certain diagnoses such as amniotic constriction band and under-diagnosis of others such as symbrachydactyly and radial deficiency. Methods: Publicly shared images and associated diagnoses were searched on publicly available news media and social media accounts published from October 2018 through November 2021 using key terms such as "amniotic band syndrome," "congenital arm amputation," and "3D prosthetic arm" as well as The Lucky Fin Project account on Instagram. The images were collected and reviewed by 2 congenital hand surgeons. The surgeons' diagnoses were then compared to the reported diagnoses associated with each image to assess accuracy. Results: A total of 100 images were collected with the reported diagnosis associated with each image. Two images were removed due to evidence of prior surgery. The hand surgeons' diagnosis disagreed with the reported diagnosis in 60 of 98 (61%) images. Of those 60 inaccurate diagnoses, 2/3 were reported as amniotic constriction band. Conclusions: Media and social media depictions of congenital upper extremity differences are frequently inaccurate, and our search demonstrated that the amniotic constriction band is the most commonly reported, inaccurate diagnosis. Accuracy of diagnosis in public media is important given the impact a diagnosis has on those viewing and sharing the images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E753-E755
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2022


  • accuracy
  • anomaly
  • birth differences
  • congenital upper extremity
  • diagnosis
  • media
  • social media


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