Congenital Hand Differences
Babies born with hands that are different than normal, have a congenital hand difference. Any defect in the stages of human arm formation may result in congenital hand difference. Some congenital hand differences may occur due to a genetic cause. Many congenital hand differences just occur without an apparent cause.
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 deviation. Children should be evaluated by a hand surgeon for congenital hand differences to determine his/her treatment needs.
Having a baby with different hands
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 her/his arm is normal for her/him and is without pain.
Are Congenital Hand Differences Treatable?
Children 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 performed (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 ACIBADEM Kadıkoy Hospital Department of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery)