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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Cleft hand

What is a cleft hand?

A child with a cleft hand is missing the middle finger and the middle bone in the hand. This causes a ‘V’ shaped gap in the middle of their hand. There may be webbing (syndactyly) between the ring and little finger. This condition may affect hands and feet.

How common is this?

One in 10,000 children are born with cleft hand.

Why does this occur?

Cleft hand is genetically inherited in many, but not all cases.

What are the treatment options?

Children with cleft hand(s) demonstrate excellent prehensile function. Surgery may be needed for any of the following conditions:

  1. Some children have a small bone that grows across the cleft. As this bone grows, it causes the cleft to open wider.

  2. Syndactyly (webbed fingers) may affect the fingers next to the cleft and surgery to repair this may be needed.

  3. A procedure (Snow-Littler Procedure) can be used to open up the space between the thumb and index finger and close the cleft.

  4. Some children with cleft hands have a hypoplastic thumb ( thumb is underdeveloped or absent). Surgery for this may be needed.

The Occupational Therapist and Plastic Surgeon will discuss with you the treatment options for your child.