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Symbrachydactyly

What Is Symbrachydactyly?

Babies with symbrachydactyly (sim-brak-ih-DAK-tuh-lee) are born with short, often webbed fingers. Some might be missing fingers.

Symbrachydactyly usually affects just one hand or foot. Sometimes the forearm is short too.

What Causes Symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly happens before a baby is born. The arm starts as a small limb bud or bump from the body of the baby. Blood vessels help support growth in the limb bud. In babies with symbrachydactyly, the hand does not form completely. Experts think that is because of decreased blood flow to the limb bud as it develops.

Who Gets Symbrachydactyly?

Any baby can be born with symbrachydactyly. It does not run in families.

Most babies who have symbrachydactyly do not have other health problems. But some also have a condition called Poland syndrome in which part of the chest muscles are underdeveloped.

How Is Symbrachydactyly Diagnosed?

Symbrachydactyly may be seen before birth on an ultrasound. Otherwise, doctors diagnose it when the baby is born.

Doctors do X-rays to see if the bones are joined. This helps surgeons decide what kind of treatment is needed.

How Is Symbrachydactyly Treated?

Mild symbrachydactyly doesn't need treatment. In other cases, surgery is done. The surgery may help divide the fingers or toes. Most children with symbrachydactyly do not need prostheses (devices that replace a missing body part).

Looking Ahead

Almost all children with symbrachydactyly can do the usual things that other kids do. If needed, occupational therapy (OT) can help a child with this.

Reviewed by: Jennifer M. Ty, MD
Date reviewed: June 2018