Q. Kindly tell me whether prenatal exposure to alcohol cause a short columella or not.

Answered by
Dr. M. Pradeep Kumar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 14, 2019

Hello doctor,

Do you have experience with FAS/FASD? Can prenatal exposure to alcohol cause a short columella? Is this common in those with the affected face?



Welcome to

We do see cases of fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Alcohol is a known teratogen for the human fetus. Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is associated with abnormalities in the fetus. The problems can occur in many systems, most importantly facial changes, heart abnormalities, kidney abnormalities and neurological (structural or functional) abnormalities.

Three findings are common in facial abnormalities:

1. Smooth philtrum (a groove seen from the bottom of the nose to the upper lip will look flat).

2. Thin upper lip.

3. Narrow palpebral fissures of eyes.

Short collumella can be an associated feature, but that alone cannot be used to label the diagnosis as fetal alcohol syndrome.

Thank you doctor,

What is your opinion about this nose?



Welcome back to

Thank you for sharing those lovely pictures of the baby (attachment removed to protect patient identity). The nose looks broad with broad and blunt tip. However there are no other classical features suggestive of fetal alcohol syndrome there. The baby looks quite alert and active. Unless associated major abnormalities in heart kidneys or in the brain are present, I will not call this baby as having any feature of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Thank you doctor,

I know he does not have the sentinels features. But, I also know that children with FASD can have no features. I have read that only 10 % of children with FASD have the facial. I would like to know if his nose has the features of a nose you can see in children with FAS. What is your opinion about his? What is your opinion about his columella?



Welcome back to

The nose is not fitting in with the diagnosis of FAS.

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