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).

How Boston Children's cares for symbrachydactyly

Combining training in adolescent and pediatric orthopedics, hand surgery, plastic surgery and microsurgery allows our surgeons to provide a comprehensive level of care unmatched in most other hospital settings.

Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program

The Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program provides comprehensive care involving occupational and physical therapy, splinting, casting and reconstructive surgeries for infants, children and adolescents with complex congenital, neuromuscular, sports-related oncologic and traumatic upper limb conditions.

Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program

The specialists in the Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program at Boston Children's are experts in the management of congenital and acquired hand deformities. We recognize the social elements involved in pediatric hand surgery, so an essential part of these operations has been making the child's hand as symmetrical as possible with the unaffected hand.