Polydactyly is a hand or foot condition where there are more than ten fingers or toes present. Although not indicative of the presence of other genetic conditions, polydactyly usually presents as extra fingers or toes that sometimes alter the function of the hand or foot. Most cases, in fact, do not occur based on family history or genetics. Sometimes, the additional digit may get in the way of normal function in addition to the obvious cosmetic difference.
Extra fingers or toes can occur adjacent to any digit, but seem to occur more routinely with border digits (eg, the small finger or thumb).
Several characteristic problems are present:
- the extra digit can split at the level of one of the bones
- the duplication can involve the joint
- curvature of the remaining digit can occur
- the duplicated digits are themselves underdeveloped
Treatment is usually surgical. The extra finger or toe will need to be removed all the way to the level of the split, whether bone or joint. Once the digit is removed, the residual finger or toe will likely need to be straightened. Ligaments around duplicated joints are tightened, and bone is straightened as necessary for the final result. Surgical treatment is advocated as early as 6 months of age in some cases. Early correction can have long-term functional benefits.
Occasionally, a residual curvature deformity may persist or develop over the next several years. Secondary surgery may be required to correct this problem, should it develop.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian