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Syndactyly / Polydactyly

Syndactyly / Polydactyly

Syndactyly means joint/ fused fingers and polydactyly means extra finger. These deformities require plastic surgery, which is planned usually after 6 months of age of a child. Polydactyly and syndactyly are congenital malformations of the fingers and/or toes. Polydactyly is the presence of extra fingers or toes, and syndactyly is the fusing together or webbing of two or more fingers or toes.

Polydactyly and syndactyly are conditions that occur in the developing fetus. Most often these conditions are caused by genetic factors. Both polydactyly and syndactyly can be caused by the presence of an autosomal dominant trait. An autosomal dominant trait is a gene that is not related to the chromosome that determines gender; therefore, it affects boys and girls equally. Because the gene is dominant, when one parent has the gene, each of his or her children has a 50 percent chance of having polydactyly or syndactyly.

The primary symptom of polydactyly is the presence of extra digits on the hands or feet. Polydactyly rarely causes any difficulties for the child. The extra fingers and/or toes are usually removed for cosmetic reasons. In children with syndactyly of the hand, finger function may be impaired and, in cases where fingers of different lengths are connected by tissue, finger growth may be limited unless surgery to separate the fingers is performed.

Polydactyly and syndactyly can vary in the degree of severity. Polydactyly may range from small skin tags on the side of the hands to fully formed extra fingers with bone, blood vessels, and muscle tissue. Polydactyly is classified as postaxial if the extra digit is located beside the little finger or preaxial if the extra digit is located near the thumb. Syndactyly may be either a complete fusion of fingers or toes or a looser webbing of skin between them. Syndactyly and polydactyly may occur simultaneously when extra digits are fused in a condition known as polysyndactyly. Polydactyly and syndactyly are usually isolated conditions, meaning the child will have no other birth defects; however, both are also found in many complex and sometimes lethal groups of anomalies or syndromes.




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