Table of contents:
- Recognizing Causes of Polydactyly
- Nongenetic causes
- Types of Polydactyly You Need to Know
- Polydactyly Treatment
Polydactyly is one of the most common birth defects and affects about 1 in 1000 babies. In this condition, the baby is born with more than 5 fingers. Polydactyly can occur in one or both hands or feet
The term polydactyly comes from the Greek, namely "polys" which means many and "daktylos" which means finger. This inherited disorder can run in families. So, a child is at risk for polydactyly if his parents also have this disorder.
Recognizing Causes of Polydactyly
The causes of poldactyly can be divided into 2, namely genetic and non-genetic causes. Here is the explanation:
The presence of a gene that causes polydactyly in the fetus can cause abnormalities in the growth of the limbs at 4-8 weeks of gestation. There are 6 genes that have been identified as the cause of polydactyly, namely:
Other genetic disorders that can cause polydactyly are usually a syndrome or a collection of symptoms that not only causes abnormalities in the number of fingers, but also abnormalities in other organs, such as the heart and kidneys. Down syndrome is a syndrome that is closely related to polydactyly.
This cause is not related to heredity, but is related to the he alth condition of the mother and baby while in the womb. There are several factors that can put a child at a higher risk of developing polydactyly, namely:
- Children of diabetic mother
- Children of mothers with upper respiratory tract infections in the first 3 months of pregnancy
- Children of mothers who have a history of epilepsy
- Children with low birth weight
- Children exposed to thalidomide embryos
Types of Polydactyly You Need to Know
There are 3 types of polydactyly based on the area where the extra finger grows, namely:
- Preaxial polydactyly, which is the growth of an extra finger on the outside of the thumb or big toe
- Polidactyly postaxial, which is the growth of an additional finger outside the side of the little finger on the hand or foot
- Central polydactyly, which is the growth of an additional finger in the middle of the fingers or toes. This condition is the most rare
The condition of the additional finger in patients with polydactyly varies. The extra finger may be perfectly shaped like the other finger, it may not have any joints, or it may even consist of only skin and soft tissue.
If polydactyly is found at birth, the doctor will examine the position and components of the additional fingers to determine the type of polydactyly and estimate what type of treatment is appropriate. The doctor will also examine the condition of other organs of the body to determine whether polydactyly is part of a certain syndrome or not.
Polydactyly can actually be left into adulthood without causing he alth problems, especially in cases that do not involve abnormalities in other organs. However, most polydactyly need to be treated before the child is 2 years old.
This fast treatment is needed so that the child does not have difficulty doing activities that involve his fingers, such as writing or typing, and can wear shoes that fit his foot size.
Polydactyly treatment is divided into 2, namely:
If the extra finger consists of only soft tissue, the doctor can attach a vascular clip to the base of this extra finger. Like clips on the umbilical cord, these clips stop blood flow, causing soft tissue to die. After drying, the extra finger will fall off from the normal finger.
Polydactyly surgery is a surgical technique to remove the extra finger that looks like a real finger, not just soft tissue. Polydactyly surgery is usually a simple operation and does not require hospitalization.
However, this goes back to the complexity of the operation. If the extra finger is intact and looks exactly like a regular finger, the complexity of the operation may be higher. This is to ensure that after surgery, the hands or feet can function properly.
A hand or foot that has been operated on may need a cast or splint for up to several weeks. After the surgical wound has healed, the doctor may also suggest physical therapy or occupational therapy, especially if polydactyly occurs in the hands. The purpose of physical therapy and occupational therapy is for limbs to recover quickly and function as usual.
This treatment can not only be applied to children, but also to adults. If you feel uncomfortable or your activities are disrupted due to polydactyly, consult a doctor to get the right treatment. In children, polydactyly can be treated by a pediatric orthopedic specialist.