Polydactyly

(Extra fingers and/or Extra toes)

Sometimes babies are born with extra fingers or extra toes. This occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000 births. It can be carried in a gene that runs in families or it can happen spontaneously without any family history. Usually the babies do not have any other associated health problems.

Simple vs Complex

Simple extra digits are made of soft tissue only. They can be removed easily in our office soon after birth. The doctor and the nurse set up a sterile field and numb the area with lidocaine. The doctor makes a small incision to remove the extra digit which then requires 1 or 2 stitches. Your baby will go home with a bandage that you take off the next day and then give them a bath. The incisions do not require any further care than this. You follow up in our office 2 weeks later. Sometimes doctors will tie off the extra digit instead of using an incision but this is not as cosmetically pleasing and can lead to a nub that can be painful and sensitive when older. There is also a greater risk for infection when the digit is tied off.
Complex extra digits mean that the extra digits have bony components. They are removed when the baby is a little bit older and must be done in an operating room under anesthesia.


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