Congenital Hand Deformities

What are Congenital Hand Deformities?

A congenital condition is one that a child is born with. Congenital hand deformities occur in several different ways and have different causes. Some deformities can be inherited and others are caused by developmental abnormalities while the baby is still in the womb.

Macrodactyly or Huge fingers

  • Macrodactyly is overgrowth of 1 or several adjacent digits or rays of a hand or foot that produces the appearance of localized gigantism.
  • Virtually all cases are present at birth, although some cases worsen disproportionately.
  • Growth of the enlarged digits ceases when the patient reaches skeletal maturity.
  • Treatment for the disorder depends on several issues, particularly, if they are causing pain or disability. If surgery needs to be done, the surgeon could destroy the growth part of the bone, along with removing as much as the excess tissue as is possible. This part, however, called defatting, is done in a two-step process. The first step involves reducing the thickness on the convex side of the digit by 10 to 20 percent. The second step involves doing the same to the other side, and shortening the bone and removing excess skin. Amputation could be considered, but this is not common and is usually done for severe cases only.

Extra fingers or polydactyly

This may occur on one or both hands. The extra finger is usually a small piece of soft tissue that can be removed. Sometimes the finger will contain bones, but not joints. Very rarely the extra finger will be a complete, fully functioning digit.

Polydactyly can occur by itself or be inherited, but is most often a feature of one of another underlying medical condition or syndrome.

Webbed fingers or syndactyly

This is a common condition in which a child’s fingers or toes do not fully separate during development. The spaces between the connected fingers and toes may be webbed, or they may be fully attached and sharing tendons, nerves, blood vessels and bone. Syndactyly can be subdivided into several different types depending on which fingers are connected and how many.

Syndactyly can be inherited or can occur independently, even if the condition doesn’t run in the family. Most cases are isolated and occur in a child who is completely healthy otherwise.

Missing fingers or symbrachydactyly

Children born with symbracydactyly have small or missing fingers, or a missing hand. They may also have webbed fingers, or a short hand or forearm.

Abnormal thumbs or trigger thumb

Trigger thumb occurs when there is a bump on the tendon that moves the joint near the tip of the thumb, causing the thumb to jump or “trigger” when it’s used. In some cases the thumb may be locked in a bent position.

Trigger thumb is caused by a tendon that is too thick and so is unable to move normally, causing the thumb to lock.

Before/After Picture(s):

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