What is symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is a condition of short fingers that may be webbed or joined. Some or all of the fingers may be underdeveloped or not developed at all. Symbrachydactyly is a congenital condition, which means babies are born with it.

Usually, children with symbrachydactyly only have it in one hand, most commonly the left hand. The muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, and bones of the hand are usually also affected.

Symbrachydactyly is rare and affects about one out of every 32,000 babies. It affects boys and girls equally.

What are the symptoms of symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is visible when your baby is born or shortly after their birth. Your child’s fingers will be short and webbed. In severe cases, your child’s fingers will be small stumps of skin and soft tissue. These differences may make it difficult for your child to use the affected hand.

What are the types of symbrachydactyly?

There are different types of symbrachydactyly with different levels of severity:

Image of short finger symbrachydactyly

With short finger symbrachydactyly, the thumb is normal, but the remaining fingers are short and stiff and may be webbed. This is the most common type of symbrachydactyly.

Image of monodactylous/bidactylous symbrachydactyly

With monodactylous/bidactylous symbrachydactyly, there is only the thumb or the thumb and little finger.

Image of adactylous/peromelic symbrachydactyly

With adactylous/peromelic symbrachydactyly, all the fingers are missing. Most children with this type have small skin stumps or nubbins in place of fingers.

What causes symbrachydactyly?

In most cases, children are born with symbrachydactyly for no known reason and without any other abnormalities. The condition is not thought to be inherited or to run in families.

Sometimes, symbrachydactyly is part of a genetic syndrome called Poland syndrome. This causes an underdeveloped chest muscle on one side of the body.

How we care for symbrachydactyly at Boston Children’s Hospital

The Orthopedic Center’s Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program and our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery's Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program have treated thousands of babies and children with symbrachydactyly and other hand problems. We are experienced treating conditions that range from routine to highly complex, and can provide your child with expert diagnosis, treatment, and care. We also offer the benefits of some of the most advanced clinical and scientific research in the world.

Our Orthopedic Center is nationally known as the preeminent center for the care of children and young adults with a wide range of developmental, congenital, neuromuscular, sports-related, traumatic, and post-traumatic problems of the musculoskeletal system.

Our Department of Plastic and Oral Surgery is one of the largest and most experienced pediatric plastic and oral surgery centers anywhere in the world. We provide comprehensive care and treatment for a wide variety of congenital and acquired conditions, including hand deformities.