Polydactyly is usually treated in early childhood with the removal of the extra finger or toe. If the extra digit is not attached by any bones, a vascular clip may be used to remove it. The vascular clip attaches to the extra digit and cuts off blood flow to it. After a short time the extra digit will fall off similar to how a newborn baby's belly button stump comes off.
When surgery is needed it may be complicated because the extra digit, as well as the hand or foot it is attached to, may have unusual internal structures. This may include twisted bones, crooked joints, or missing or extra tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Abnormalities in the fingers or toes that are kept may be more obvious after surgery than before, but with careful planning, the surgeon can anticipate and correct these problems at the time of surgery.
After surgery, protecting the hand or foot in a large bandage is usually necessary for a few weeks to months, depending on what type of surgery was performed. Surgery performed in childhood may need to be adjusted for growth with touch-up surgery when the child is older.
The knowledgeable and highly trained staff at the Cedars-Sinai Orthopedics Center and Hand Surgery Program will work with each patient to determine the best treatment option.