Congenital deformities of the hand – deformities a child is born with – can interfere with proper hand growth and cause significant problems in the use of the hand. Fortunately, modern surgical techniques can correct most defects at a very early age – in some cases during infancy, in others at two or three years – allowing normal development and functioning of the hand.
Syndactyly is one of the most common congenital defects, in which two or more fingers are fused together. Surgical correction involves cutting the tissue that connects the fingers, then grafting skin from another part of the body. (The procedure will be more complicated if bones are also fused.) Surgery can usually provide a full range of motion and a fairly normal appearance, although the color of the grafted skin may be slightly different from the rest of the hand.
Among other common congenital defects are short, missing, or deformed fingers, immobile tendons, and abnormal nerves or blood vessels. Gnerally, these defects can be treated surgically and significant improvement can be expected.