Pediatric Brachydactyly (Symbrachydactyly)

Pediatric Brachydactyly (Symbrachydactyly)

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Summary

Brachydactyly (symbrachydactyly) is a condition in which a child’s fingers are short, webbed or missing. Usually, only one hand is affected.

Expanded Overview

Brachydactyly (symbrachydactyly) is a congenital (present at birth) condition in which the fingers on one hand do not develop normally while the baby is growing in their mother’s womb.

With this condition, fingers can be shorter, missing or webbed. The finger bones, known as phalanges, may also be shorter. In turn, the underlying muscles, tendons and ligaments can be affected. Some fingers may be made only of skin and soft tissue.

Typically, the thumb is intact, and the middle digits are affected. Brachydactyly occurs more often in the left hand than the right. Bones that connect the fingers to the wrist may also be affected.

The number of affected fingers will vary depending on the extent of the condition. A child will learn to adapt by using his or her dominant hand.

Brachydactyly is not a common condition, as it occurs only in about 1 of 32,000 births.

Causes

Brachydactyly is not an inherited trait, but it has been linked with a genetic disorder called Poland syndrome, which is the absence of a pectoral muscle in the chest.

The most common cause is a lack of blood flow to the hand when it is developing in the mother’s womb.

Symptoms

The symptoms of brachydactyly include:

  • Missing fingers or thumb
  • Short fingers
  • Short bones in the arm or wrist
  • Webbed fingers

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