Hand Disorders

Symbrachydactyly (Short or Missing Fingers)

What Is Symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is a condition in which a child is born with small or missing fingers or a missing hand. There may also be webbed fingers or a short hand or forearm.

What Causes Symbrachydactyly?

Symbrachydactyly is the most common form of a hand or arm deficiency. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, and it does not seem to run in families. It is thought that there is insufficient developing tissue for all of the parts of a full arm and hand to form.

Short or missing fingers occur in many forms, most commonly because the fingers did not develop completely during the second month of pregnancy. The condition is usually present on one side only, with a possibility of muscle abnormalities on that side as well.

How Is Symbrachydactyly Treated?

Your doctor will discuss with you the best treatment options for you or your child. While there is no way to restore the hand completely, treatment options are available, including surgery to deepen the webs between the fingers and to stabilize the fingers with bone grafts. However, surgery is often not needed.

The goal of treatment is to allow the child to be as independent and confident as possible in using his or her hand in daily activities.