A child can be born with two or more fingers joined together. Doctors call this condition ‘Syndactyly.’ Sometimes, we see it in the toes, but it is more common with the fingers, where it occurs in both hands half of the time.
It is a condition that doctors can diagnose at birth because it is very apparent. Webbing between the two fingers may be the main culprit, although some fused fingers can appear like one big finger. This condition is relatively common and tends to affect boys more than girls. The big news is that doctors can treat this condition. Let’s learn more about Syndactyly.
What Causes Syndactyly?
During pregnancy, the hands are initially a paddle-like structure. The splitting of a baby’s fingers happens very early during pregnancy, sometimes around the 4th to 8th weeks. Syndactyly implies that the separation was not perfect as usual.
The thing is, there is no known cause for this condition. The only associated factor is a family history which is likely in as many as 4 out of 10 cases. Some genetic syndromes may also lead to syndactyly.
What Can Parents Do About This?
The condition is very obvious at birth; hence doctors will start counseling. Doctors can even diagnose the condition when the baby is still in the womb. The treatment is surgery, usually around one to two years of age, to allow some growth in the child. The surgeons typically order X-rays to assess the degree of fusion and approach to separate them.
After surgery, your child will continue to wear a cast or bandage and that will cover the hand for a few weeks to allow healing. Your doctors may also recommend physiotherapy to improve function of the hand.
In all, the major takeaway is that syndactyly is a very treatable condition.