HAND AND PERIPHERAL NERVE SURGERY CLINIC
Congenital Hand Differences
Congenital means “present at birth.” A congenital hand difference is a variation in the normal formation of the hand that occurs when the fetus is in the womb.
Common types of congenital hand differences
These differences can be classified as missing or extra parts in the hand (figure 1), overgrowth or undergrowth of sections of the hand (figure 2) and fused parts of the hand (figure 3). One in twenty children is born with some differencies from normal. Child should be evaluated by a hand surgeon for congenital hand differences to determine his/her treatment needs.
Having a baby with different hands
Immediately after the birth of a child with a congenital abnormality, the parents may feel guilt. This is a normal reaction. Each family member must cope with their feelings since it is very rare that a congenital hand difference is caused from the mother, father or the doctor. The way the baby has formed his/her arm is normal for her/him and is without pain.
Are Congenital Hand Differences Treatable?
Child should be evaluated by a hand surgeon to determine his/her treatment needs. Some congenital hand differences may coexist with genetic disorders or other medical conditions and further investigation may be necessary. It is possible to treat the difference depending on the type and location. For instance, extra fingers can be removed surgically, and reconstruction of the remaining fingers can be made (figure 1). Fused fingers can be separated (figure 3) and hand function can be improved with surgery (figure 2). Rehabilitation may be necessary to improve function. In some cases, no intervention is necessary.
Figure 1: Extra thumb removed with surgery
Figure 2: Index finger can be used as a thumb in thumb formation disorders.
Figure 3: Long-term result of fused fingers separated with surgery
(Pictures taken from Acıbadem Kadikoy Hospital Department of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery)