The medical term polydactyly is used to describe the congenital anomaly of having extra fingers or toes. Translated from Greek, this means “many fingers“. It is the most common anomaly of the hand and favours coloureds (occurring 1/1111 births in total, but 1/300 births in coloureds, and 1/3000 in Asians and whites; source: Orthopedie & Rheuma 2/2003.

There are various forms of polydactyly including the following: an extra little finger or toe as the 6th finger or toe; double thumbs or double-sized big toes; or so-called central polydactyly, where the extra finger is between the thumb and little finger. The extra finger or toe can range from being almost fully formed to an additional small appendage. Generally, the extra finger or toe is surgically removed. It is therefore important that the existing structures such as tendons and capsular ligaments are allocated to the remaining fingers and reconstructed as far as possible. This is because neighbouring fingers are often not completely formed in terms of structure. Central polydactyly is usually the most difficult to correct because full options are not always available for the reconstruction of the remaining fingers.


Polydactyly is a congenital anomaly.
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