Congenital Hand Defects

Some anomalies in the structure of the hand are caused by genetic factors. Among these are webbed fingers, or syndactyly, and extra fingers, or polydactyly. These conditions can be corrected through surgery.

Webbed Fingers

This condition is quite common, affecting one out of every 2-3,000 births. Often, the fingers are attached to each other by soft tissue, making syndactyly a relatively simple condition to correct. In more severe cases, the actual bones of the fingers can be joined, which is a more complex condition.

When syndactyly occurs, it most often appears between the ring and middle fingers. It is also twice as common in males. Treatment is not always necessary, but if the webbing between the fingers causes reduced mobility, surgery might be in order.

Extra Fingers

Polydactyly, or more than five fingers, is also very common. Extra fingers can occur on the thumb side, the pinky side, or even next to one of the middle fingers. Often, these extra fingers are smaller and poorly developed, and sometimes lack bony structures. If the bony structures are missing or are separate from the other fingers, surgical correction is fairly simple.

Finger surgery for polydactyly is usually performed while a child is still young. Follow-up visits and physical therapy can help prevent any lasting issues from the surgery. Surgery is performed in such a way that the resulting scarring affects movement as little as possible. Some surgery, involving poorly developed additional fingers or fingers that are attached with a stalk-like appendage, can be quick, easy, and minimally invasive.