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Symbrachydactyly is a congenital hand disorder characterised by abnormally short fingers that are sometimes webbed and fused. Most children have a thumb that is essentially normal but their remaining fingers are short, stiff and sometimes conjoined. In the most severe cases, all fingers are missing and replaced by little stumps of skin.
During normal embryonic development in the womb, the hand initially forms in the shape of a paddle, and then eventually splits into separate fingers. Symbrachydactyly occurs when one or more fingers fail to form properly during this period.
Symbrachydactyly occurs in about 1 out of every 32,000 babies.
Through a thorough medical history and careful physical examination. X-rays are used to confirm the diagnosis and to check for problems affecting the underlying bones.
In some cases, no surgery or only minor skin and soft-tissue adjustments are required. In severe cases your child may need to have bones transferred to their hands, often taken from the toes to add length to the affected fingers. These procedures are usually performed when your child is between 6 and 18 months old. In some cases, a toe or multiple toes are transplanted to the affected hand.
Long-term follow-up is required to ensure that healing is going well and function is optimised. We will organise for your child to see one of our specialist hand therapists who will help reduce scarring, swelling and stiffness and improve strength. We will continue to follow-up your child as they grow to ensure that they are adapting and functioning well.