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SYNDACTYLY

Webbing of the fingers

This is used to denote webbed or joined fingers. It is regarded as the commonest deformity of the hand that children are born with. In up to two fifths of cases there can be a familial history. It commonly affects both hands and boys are twice more likely to have this than girls. It can occur on its own or as part of another combination of abnormalities (syndrome) They are termed simple when only the skin is involved and called complex if bones are fused as well.

 

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What does someone with syndactyly complain of?
The webbing between two or more of the fingers is noticed at birth. And parents are often worried about how this will affect the hand function. They are also concerned that there is a correction before the child goes to school to avoid teasing by other kids
The third web is most commonly involved followed by the fourth and second web successively.
Complex forms that involve fusion of the bones of the hand may distort the shape and growth of the longer of the joined digits


How is it treated?
The main stay of treatment is surgery and this is to separate the fingers and provide adequate skin cover over the exposed tissues using multiple zig zags flaps of skin.
Due to the inadequacy of skin, skin grafts are also needed and are taken from the groin area or the instep of the soles of the feet.


Anaesthesia
The surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia if a child or using regional anaesthesia (brachial block) in adults. Local anesthetic is injected into the armpit and this makes the whole arm numb and surgery is performed while patient is awake.