Polydactyly of Fingers | Symptoms and Causes

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program

  • 1-617-355-6021
  • International: +01-617-355-5209
  • Locations

What are the symptoms of polydactyly and the different degrees of severity?

The extra fingers are usually smaller and abnormally developed than normal and can be made up of:

  • skin and soft tissue—the simplest to remove
  • skin, soft tissue and bone but no joint—more challenging to remove/remodel
  • skin, soft tissue and bone with joint (closer to a fully-formed finger—most challenging to remove/remodel)

polydactyly

What causes polydactyly?

During normal embryonic development (while the baby is still in the womb), the hand initially forms in the shape of a paddle, and then—at about the sixth or seventh week of gestation—splits into separate fingers. Polydactyly results if there’s an irregularity in this process: An extra finger forms when a single finger splits in two.

The vast majority of occurrences of polydactyly are sporadic, meaning that the condition occurs without an apparent cause—but some may be due to a genetic defect or underlying hereditary syndrome. African-Americans are more likely to inherit the condition than other ethnic groups

Causes

During normal embryonic development (while the baby is still in the womb), the hand initially forms in the shape of a paddle, and then eventually—in about the sixth or seventh week of gestation—splits into separate fingers. Polydactyly results if there’s an irregularity in this process: An extra finger forms when a single finger splits in two.

The vast majority of occurrences of polydactyly are sporadic, meaning that the condition occurs without an apparent cause—while some may be due to a genetic defect or underlying hereditary syndrome. African-Americans are more likely to inherit the condition than other ethnic groups.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS

Close