If your child has syndactyly, it means they have webbed or fused fingers. One of the most common congenital hand defects, it can involve any fingers but is most often found in the middle and ring fingers. More than two fingers can also be involved.
Fused fingers prevent full hand function. In children, this compromises the development of fine and gross motor skills, so separation of the fingers is critical.
Renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Garcia, Jr. offers expert hand reconstruction that includes separation of fused fingers. He addresses both simple syndactyly and more complex fusions that may include bone. We share more about the process and the positive outcome we provide at Plastic Surgery Arts Center.
Why does my child have syndactyly?
Fusing of fingers usually happens during a baby’s development in the womb. Fingers are usually fused in a fetus for the majority of their development, but in the last 56 days of gestation, the skin interconnections disappear. If the cells aren’t signaled properly, however, the webbing is retained.
This is a simple genetic malfunction and has nothing to do with the mother or father’s actions.
What are the treatments for fused fingers?
In cases of simple syndactyly, where the index, middle, and/or ring fingers are fused with skin and soft tissue only, surgery separates the webbing and frees up the digits. This separation should happen before a child reaches age two so their hand and motor skills can develop normally.
Dr. Garcia takes a skin graft from the arm or groin to place over the newly separated digits. If no graft is performed, there just isn’t enough skin to cover the fingers and fusion is likely to recur.
Surgery to correct finger fusion usually separates just one side of a finger at a time to prevent any complications that relate to circulation and blood supply to the fingers. Thus, if your child has multiple fused fingers, they may need more than one surgical procedure.
What about complex cases?
Complex syndactyly involves the bony parts of the fingers – not just soft tissue and skin. A separation in a case of complex syndactyly, requires more surgical skill and prowess. In some cases, the patient will still have deformed fingernails and angled or rotated fingers even after separation.
Dr. Garcia may recommend additional surgeries to straighten the fingers following separation.
Another complex procedure is performed on children with central polysyndactyly. This condition is diagnosed when an extra portion of a finger is located between the ring and middle fingers. Dr. Garcia can separate the fingers, but the digits may appear smaller than normal and may suffer deformities such as angulation or rotation. A child with central polysyndactyly may require multiple surgeries to achieve full hand restoration.
At Plastic Surgery Arts Center, we offer a full range of surgical procedures for fused fingers. Dr. Garcia uses the most advanced surgical techniques and technology to achieve excellent outcomes. Call our office in Webster, Texas, for a consultation or schedule using this website.