Webbed Finger/Syndactyly Newport Beach
Syndactyly or webbed fingers or toes is a congenital anomaly. It can be classified as either simple or complex. In simple syndactyly, adjacent fingers or toes are joined by soft tissue. In complex syndactyly, the bones of adjacent digits are fused and often occurs as part of a syndrome, such as Apert syndrome.
Syndactyly can also be complete or incomplete. In complete syndactyly, the skin is joined all the way to the tip of the finger or toe, whereas, in incomplete syndactyly, the skin is only joined partially to the tip of the finger or toe. To determine the type of syndactyly, x-rays of both hands and/or feet are needed to evaluate the bony anatomy for accurate diagnosis and surgical planning.
In early human fetal development, webbing of the toes and fingers is normal. At about 16 weeks of gestation, the tissue between the fingers and toes are enzymatically broken down, and the webbing disappears. Sometimes, this process does not occur completely, causing some residual webbing between the fingers and toes.
Because the circumference of the conjoined fingers is smaller than the circumference of the 2 separated fingers, there is almost always not enough skin to cover both digits once they are separated during surgery. Therefore, a skin graft must be brought into the area during the surgery, most commonly from the groin region.
Dr. Chen performs reconstruction of simple complete or incomplete syndactyly and refers patients with complex syndactyly to a hand specialist.