Also known as: Syndactyly, webbed fingers or toes

What is Syndactyly?

Syndactyly is a condition in which a child is born with one or more digits fused together. It can also affect the toes.  It is classified as simple (involving only soft tissue structures) or complex (involving bones and nails).  It is relatively common, with an incidence of 1 in 2000-3000 births.

What causes syndactyly?

The cause of syndactyly is not always known or identifiable.  Some cases are familial (i.e., it can be passed along from parents to their children) and several genetic abnormalities have been associated with syndactyly.  It can occur as part of a syndrome, but it can also occur sporadically with no identifiable cause.

What are the symptoms of syndactyly?

Syndactyly can cause cosmetic and functional problems in the affected hand or foot.  Impairment and functional consequences are worse when the syndactyly is complete (to the fingertip), complex (involving the bones and/or nails) or affects the border digits, such as the ring and small fingers or the thumb and index fingers.  Tethering of the longer finger, will lead to growth abnormalities if the digits are not released.

What are syndactyly care options?

Surgical separation of the fused digits is the typical recommended treatment for syndactyly. If the procedure is properly performed, the rate of complications is low, and the results are gratifying for the parents and beneficial to the patients in improving hand function and improving the appearance of the hand and fingers.

Reviewed by: Aaron J Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: October 18, 2019 01:35 PM

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