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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery


What is Polydactyly?

Polydactyly refers to extra fingers or toes (duplication). There is a range of duplication that can occur from just an extra piece of skin (skin tag) to a complete extra digit.

What are the Types of Polydactyly?

Polydactyly ranges from an extra piece of soft tissue (skin) that has no bone inside to a complete duplication of a finger or toe.

Thumb duplication

There are different levels of duplication depending which bone in the thumb is split. The thumb may have 3 bones instead of two, this is called a triphalangeal thumb.

Duplication of index, middle or ring finger (central duplication)

Occasionally occurs with syndactyly (webbed/fused fingers).

Small finger duplication

How Common is This?

Thumb polydactyly

  • Duplication of the middle bone of the thumb is the most common form (43%)
  • Extra bone in the thumb (triphalangeal thumb) is the next most common (20%)
  • Occurs in 1 in every 3000 births

Central duplication

  • Duplication more common in the ring finger, then the long finger, then the index finger (which is rarely duplicated)
  • Central duplication often occurs on both hands and often occurs in conjunction with syndactyly
  • Many patients have polydactyly or syndactyly involving the feet as well

Small finger duplication

  • Most common form of polydactyly, 8 times more common than the other types
  • Often happens on both hands

Why Does This Happen?

Thumb duplication
Usually occurs randomly, with the exception of triphalangeal thumb which is inherited.

Central duplication
Sometimes inherited

Small finger duplication
Commonly inherited

What are the Treatment Options?

Surgical options exist for each type of polydactyly. A functional hand assessment by an occupational therapist, X-rays and consultation with a plastic surgeon are required to determine the best possible option for your child.