A three-year-old girl from China, who was unidentified by news reports, had been born with extra thumb-like digits on her hand giving her 14 fingers in total, said the doctor who operated on her. She is supposedly the fifth generation in her family to have been born with extra digits.
Despite the hereditary nature of their condition, the family has always been too poor to undergo corrective surgery. Fortunately for the girl, she was able to get this corrective surgery at the Central Hospital of Shenyang Medical College, in Liaoning province in China’s northeast.
The successful operation resulted in the extra digits being removed and doctors are optimistic that the girl will have normal development with no impairment of function or appearance in her hands.
Dr. Zhan Jie, the hand surgery specialist who led the operation, said: “The girl had two extra fingers on each hand – quite a rare patient.
“The surgery was complicated by the fact that the fingers we wanted to keep and those we wanted to remove weren’t clear and obvious.”
Aside from removing the extra digits, the doctors also inserted metal rods that will help straighten the fingers and guide bone growth in the remaining thumbs.
Dr. Zhan continued: “Besides removing the extra digits, we also needed to make corrections to the angle. It’s been a month since the operation. She came back after two weeks to have her sutures removed.
“Both we and the patient’s family are satisfied with the appearance of her hands.”
Although the surgery was successful, it’s unclear if the girl may need follow-up surgery in the future.
The doctors not only corrected the child’s fingers, but they also removed any prospective stigma associated with having her condition which is called polydactylism. One in every 500 babies is born with such a condition in the world.
Correcting polydactylism is a simple option for parents in developed nations but is a problem if one doesn’t have the money to pay for the operation. The girl was truly lucky that she managed to get the operation that she needed to have a chance at a normal life.
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