Babies Born With Extra Fingers and Toes: Causes & Treatment

Baby Born With Extra Fingers and Toes (Polydactyly)

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
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Ever seen people eager to count their baby’s toes and fingers after birth? Well, don’t be surprised if you notice your mom, husband or an elder in the family doing the same to check if all twenty of them are intact. But sometimes to your dismay, there may be an extra toe or your finger on your baby. Should this evoke any kind of serious concern in you or is it trivial? If your baby has extra fingers or toes, reading the following post may help you understand more about your baby’s condition in detail.

What is Polydactyly?

Polydactyly is a condition in which a baby is born with extra fingers or toes. The extra fingers or toes may usually be present next to the big toe, thumb, little toe or little finger. Polydactyly is not something that rarely occurs in babies but it is a common phenomenon in which a baby may have one or more fingers or toes in his body. It is seen that one in every 1000 babies may get affected with this condition, in most cases with no evident reasons. The extra digit, as it is usually called, maybe a fully functional finger or toe, or just a piece of extra skin growth.

What Causes a Baby to Be Born With Extra Fingers?

Though there may be no apparent reasons for your baby to be born with extra fingers. However, if you or your partner has an extra digit or digits, it may make your baby have them too. Rather if you have extra digits, there are 75 per cent chances that your baby may have them too. This is because sometimes certain genes get passed on from one generation to another, which may cause this kind of conditions.

However, sometimes certain gene defects may also be responsible for determining how your baby’s hands or feet may get formed. On the other hand, these may also result due to some kind of association with rare genetic disorders such as Trisomy 13, Carpenter Syndrome, Familial Polydactyly etc. Sometimes it may be an external finding and may have some associated defects internally. So, always get it checked with your doctor and any investigations ordered should be done.

These are some conditions that may make lead to extra fingers on babies.

What Causes a Baby to Be Born With Extra Fingers?

Diagnosis of Polydactyly

Polydactyly has obvious symptoms but it is still suggested that your doctor does a thorough check-up of your baby to see if any other associated complications may be present. Your doctor may ask you to get an x-ray done to establish whether or not the digit may be connected to the bone or the skin and then to decide the further course of treatment.

How Can Extra Fingers in Babies Be Treated?

Before deciding the course of action, it is important to understand that the extra fingers or toes may not cause any kind of health troubles to your baby and thus there may be no associated pressure for its removal.

If you feel that it is okay for your kid to be with an extra digit for the rest of his life, so be it. However, you may have to see the future implication regarding how aesthetically that extra digit may be fitting into your child’s life. Apart from the appearance, there may be several other issues that may need consideration. For example, it may affect your child’s sports performance or it may make it difficult for him to fit into a standard-sized shoe and other such important aspects.

However, you may go in for the removal of the extra digit too. The removal of the extra digit will be performed surgically. If you wish to go in for the surgery it is better you get it planned early in childhood. The intricacy of the surgery may be determined on the bases of how the digit may be attached to the skin or the bone. In most cases, the surgery may not take much time and it may be very simple to perform. Very rarely a child born with extra fingers or toes may have to undergo complicated surgical procedures. Your kid may need physiotherapy or occupational therapy after the surgery.

You may have to be deliberate on your decision of whether to keep or let go of the additional fingers or toes. Seek a professional’s help in overruling any doubts or concerns regarding this problem.

Also Read: Signs of Autism in Babies

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