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Congenital hand deformities are anomalies present at birth. These types of defects can be particularly troublesome for children, as they can impact their ability to grow and develop normally. Hand deformities may be relatively mild or quite serious, but nearly all can be treated in the early years of life to ensure the child can function independently in the future.

Common Congenital Hand Deformities

There are a number of congenital hand deformities Dr. Sharma can treat:

Syndactyly

Also referred to as a “webbed” hand, this deformity occurs when two or more of the fingers are fused together. It is most common in the two middle fingers and typically just involves the skin. In rarer cases, more fingers may be involved or the fusion may affect the bones. This defect can make it difficult for your child to use the hand in a normal fashion. Fortunately, surgery can correct the problem, giving the hand both a normal appearance and normal function.

Polydactyly

This deformity involves an additional digit that is formed on the hand, usually a second little finger. The extra finger may be fully developed, or much smaller than the rest of the fingers on the hand. Surgical removal of the extra digit creates a normal appearance to the hand and makes it easier for the child to use the hand to perform various tasks.

Symbrachydactyly

This condition is characterized by a missing digit. In some cases, a child may be able to gain nearly normal function of the hand through physical and occupational therapy. Others may respond well to treatment, which might include surgery or a prosthesis.

Treating Congenital Hand Deformities

The decision to treat congenital hand deformities will be based on many different factors:

  • The age of the child
  • The severity of the deformity
  • The cause of the deformity
  • The preference of the parents
  • The child’s ability to tolerate medications or go therapy

If treatment is recommended, it is important for parents to have realistic expectations about the outcome of the treatment. Dr. Sharma counsels parents prior to surgery to help them determine the best course of treatment for their child. His goal is to ensure a child develops normally and achieves as much function from the affected limb as possible.

Common Hand and Wrist Injuries and Conditions

Common hand and wrist injuries and conditions in children that are treated by Dr. Sharma include:

Trigger Finger and Thumb

Trigger finger and thumb can occur in both adults and children. Although children often experience less discomfort with the condition than adults, children are more likely to have the digit lock into a bent position. This can create serious developmental problems for a child, since the digit and hand cannot work properly. Treatment for trigger finger and thumb in children usually involves surgery, if the digit does not correct itself over time. Surgical treatment can be performed on an outpatient basis and involves little discomfort during or after the procedure.

Fractures and Sprains

Children tend to be prone to injuries, due to their high activity levels and natural curiosity of the world around them. Hand fractures and sprains can be treated by Dr. Sharma to ensure the injury does not interfere with normal growth and development.

Fracture

A fracture involves breaking of a bone. Children that fracture a bone in their hand or wrist are likely to experience pain, swelling and bruising in the area of the break. In some cases, the skin may be broken as well, indicating an open fracture. With a closed fracture, the skin remains intact. The most common treatment for fractures is casting or splinting, which holds the bone in place until it can heal properly. In more severe fractures, surgery may also be necessary.

Sprains

Sprains are the result of soft tissue or ligaments in the hand getting overly stretched or completely torn. This type of injury is often the result of the child putting out a hand to stop a fall. Symptoms include pain, swelling and weakness of the injured area. In most cases, sprains are treated with ice and a splint to immobilize the hand until it heals completely. Regular elevation of the hand can also help speed the healing process.

Treating congenital hand deformities, injuries or conditions of the hands or wrists requires expertise and experience to ensure the problem does not interfere with a child’s development or self-esteem.

To learn more about congenital hand deformities or the treatment options available, contact Dr. Sharma’s office at 512-324-2765.

HELP IS AVAILABLE

Contact our office to schedule a private consultation with Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Sanjay K. Sharma, M.D., F.A.C.S.