What is symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is a rare congenital hand defect in which the fingers are abnormally short and webbed or conjoined. The bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves of the hand are usually affected. The roots of the word are from the Greek “syn/sym” (joined), “brachy” (short), and “dactyl” (finger, digit).

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

There are different levels of the condition:

  1. The thumb is essentially normal, but the remaining fingers are short and stiff and can be webbed (least severe).
  2. Only the thumb or the thumb and little finger are present (moderately severe).
  3. All the fingers are missing, and small skin stumps are located where fingers should have developed (most severe).

What causes symbrachydactyly?

Most cases of symbrachydactyly happen for no known reason and without any other abnormalities in the child. It isn’t thought to be inherited. In some cases, symbrachydactyly is an accompanying defect in a genetic syndrome called Poland syndrome, in which there is underdevelopment of the chest muscle on one side of the body.

What are the symptoms of symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is visible at, or shortly after, birth. Sometimes it is seen on ultrasound before 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. Because of these differences, your child may have trouble using the affected hand.

How we care for symbrachydactyly

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.