Syndactyly of the Hand

Syndactyly of the hand is a common condition where children are born with fused or webbed fingers. About 1 out of every 2,500 babies is affected by this anomaly of the hand. Although any fingers can be joined, syndactyly of the hand is typically between the middle and ring finger.


Syndactyly of the hand occurs during pregnancy. In most cases, the baby’s fingers do not separate because of a genetic defect. Abnormalities such as toxins in the womb may also cause this condition. Syndactyly of the hand can also occur along with other conditions.


Symptoms of syndactyly of the hand varies depending on the variation. Simple syndactyly occurs when the fingers are joined together by skin or tissue only. Complex syndactyly occurs when the bones are also joined together. Complicated syndactyly occurs when extra bones or tendons have formed abnormally.


Syndactyly of the hand is diagnosed at birth and can often be identified in prenatal ultrasounds. X-rays will be used to understand the structure of the hand and to determine the best options for treatment.


Syndactyly is treated with surgery to separate the joined fingers. Surgery typically takes place between ages one and two. In minor cases, the surgeon will cut the webbing between the fingers and place the arm in a cast while it heals. In severe cases, skin grafts from other parts of the body may be required to help cover the fingers. In other cases, surgery may not be recommended. After surgery, occupational therapy may be recommended to reduce scarring and improve function.

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