The pediatric hand specialists at Children’s Health are experts in treating congenital hand differences, including all types of polydactyly. From birth through treatment, they will guide you through the diagnosis, recommendations, and treatment plan that will provide your child with the best function for their hand.
What is Pediatric Polydactyly?
Polydactyly is the presence of an extra finger. This can range from a small bump to a completely formed extra finger.
What are the different types of Pediatric Polydactyly?
There are three main types of polydactyly. They are:
Pre-axial or radial polydactyly
The extra digit is located outside of the thumb.
Post-axial or ulnar polydactyly
The extra digit is located outside of the small finger. This is the most common type of polydactyly.
The extra digit is located between the other fingers.
How is Pediatric Polydactyly diagnosed?
A complete exam of the hand will be performed by our qualified hand doctors. During your first visit to our clinic, we will take an X-ray of your child’s hand to evaluate the extra digit. We will then develop a customized treatment plan.
What are the causes of Pediatric Polydactyly?
In the first trimester of gestation, as a baby is developing, the hands start out as paddles which then separate into five fingers. Polydactyly occurs when there is an error in this process. A specific cause cannot be identified in most cases. Occasionally, polydactyly can be attributed to a genetic abnormality or a hereditary syndrome.
How is Pediatric Polydactyly treated?
Treatment may include observation, clipping or removal during surgery.
If there is no bone within the extra digit and the attachment to the finger is very thin, your doctor may recommend “clipping”. Clipping involves two clips that are placed on the base of the extra digit when your baby is a few weeks old. This will cause the blood supply to be cut off, and the finger will fall off within the next few days. This is preferred to “tying them off,” as it is less likely to leave a thickened scar or bump.
If your child is older than one month, or if your child’s extra digit is more complex, our experienced hand surgeon will discuss with you the ideal timing for removal by surgery. You will have access to the Children’s Health℠ skilled team of physicians, occupational therapists and a developmental psychologist, who will guide your child through their recovery.