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What is syndactyly?

Syndactyly is a congenital disorder characterized by the abnormal fusion of two or more fingers or toes. It is the most common congenital hand abnormality, affecting about 1 in 2,000 newborns.

Types of syndactyly

There are three main types of syndactyly:

  • Simple: This is the most common type, and it involves the fusion of the skin only.
  • Complex: This type involves the fusion of skin, bones, and sometimes tendons.
  • Distal: This type affects the fingers closest to the palm.
  • Middle: This type affects the fingers in the middle of the hand.
  • Proximal: This type affects the fingers closest to the wrist.

Causes of syndactyly

The exact cause  is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some factors that may increase the risk of syndactyly include:

  • Family history
  • Certain genetic syndromes, such as Apert syndrome and Carpenter syndrome
  • Exposure to certain medications or chemicals during pregnancy

Symptoms of syndactyly

The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, the fingers may only be partially fused. In more severe cases, the fingers may be completely fused together.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty moving the fingers
  • Impaired sensation in the fingers
  • Increased risk of infection

Diagnosis

Syndactyly is usually diagnose at birth. The doctor will examine the hands and feet to look for any abnormalities. In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for syndactyly

The treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, no treatment may be necessary. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to separate the fingers.

Surgery is usually perform when the child is between 6 months and 1 year old. The goal of surgery is to separate the fingers and create a functional hand.

Complications

The complications of syndactyly can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment. Some possible complications include:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Limited range of motion
  • Impaired sensation

Life with syndactyly

People can live normal, active lives. However, they may need to take special care of their hands and feet to prevent infection and other complications.

Here are some tips for people with this condition:

  • Keep your hands and feet clean and dry.
  • Apply a bandage to any cuts or scrapes.
  • See a doctor if you develop an infection.
  • Exercise your fingers and toes regularly to maintain range of motion.

Conclusion

Syndactyly is a congenital disorder that affects the fingers and toes. It is the most common congenital hand abnormality. The treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment. People with it can live normal, active lives.

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