Polydactyly and syndactyly are congenital malformations of the fingers and/or toes.
Polydactyly is the presence of extra fingers or toes, and syndactyly is the fusing together or webbing of two or more fingers or toes.
Polydactyly and syndactyly can vary in the degree of severity.
Syndactyly may be either a complete fusion of fingers or toes or a looser webbing of skin between them.
Syndactyly and polydactyly may occur simultaneously when extra digits are fused in a condition known as polysyndactyly.
Polydactyly and syndactyly are usually isolated conditions, meaning the child will have no other birth defects; however, both are also found in many complex and sometimes lethal groups of anomalies or syndromes.
Syndactyly of the fingers is the most common malformation affecting the hand.
Syndactyly is an equally common malformation and runs in families as well.
Polydactyly and syndactyly are conditions that occur in the developing fetus.
Both polydactyly and syndactyly can be caused by the presence of an autosomal dominant trait.
Because the gene is dominant, when one parent has the gene, each of his or her children has a 50 percent chance of having polydactyly or syndactyly.
In children with syndactyly of the hand, finger function may be impaired and, in cases where fingers of different lengths are connected by tissue, finger growth may be limited unless surgery to separate the fingers is performed.
In children with syndactyly, the surgeon must determine if the fusion involves muscle tissue and blood vessels, and in children with severe polydactyly of the fingers, a surgeon specializing in hands may evaluate the child as well.
Some children with syndactyly may also have cardiac or heart problems; therefore, an electrocardiogram (EKG) may be ordered to evaluate heart function.
For children with isolated polydactyly and syndactyly, the prognosis is excellent.
There is no known prevention for polydactyly and syndactyly.
Children with more severe polydactyly and syndactyly will have surgery to correct the malformation.
Polydactyly and syndactyly correction surgery is usually performed when the child is between the ages of one and two years.
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