Webbed Finger Surgery Treatment Abroad
Webbed fingers are also known as ‘syndactyly', and it simply means fingers on a hand are grown together. There are different forms of these conditions:
- Complete syndactyly – Fingers are joined together completely
- Incomplete syndactyly – Part of the fingers are joined together
- Simple syndactyly – The space between the joined fingers is comprised of only flesh and skin
- Complex syndactyly – The bones of the combined fingers are fused together
This type of condition takes place during fetal development – specifically when the development of the hands and fingers take place. In the womb, a hand begins to form in a paddle shape and then splits to create four fingers and a thumb. When the fingers do not split as they are supposed to, the result is webbed fingers. If the paddle splits into more than four fingers, it is known as polydactyly, which creates a fifth finger in addition to the four fingers and thumb. While the cause is not known, some cases are genetically related.
Surgery is often recommended very early in life to ensure proper use of fingers and hand, but the procedure may also take place for adults of all ages.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make zig-zag markings down each side of the joined skin. The flesh is cut to separate the finger and sutures close up the flesh around each finger. Skin grafts are used in conjunction with this procedure because there is often not enough skin to wrap around the individual fingers after separation. In complex cases, bones undergo surgical reconstruction to separate and gain function, and repairs fix any damaged tendons or joints, if necessary.
After separation has taken place, the incisions are closed with incisions and bandaged. The healing time for this procedure depends on the type of syndactyly form that was corrected.
Treatment of webbed fingers creates an improvement in the hand’s appearance and makes it easier to complete any necessary, daily tasks. If the surgery is done early in life, it reduces the possibility of any deformities that might take place as a result of fused skin or bones. Webbed fingers do not create a health risk for patients, but bending can occur if bones are fused together at the tips, as fingers are not the same length.
Children who undergo this procedure may need additional surgery to correct any imperfections after he or she is finished growing. Children who have webbed fingers most commonly undergo this procedure early on to allow a child to adapt to use the fingers before they get older.
After the procedure, a two or three-day hospital stay may be recommended to monitor any swelling. Pain medication is administered to alleviate discomfort and skin grafts around the fingers are moisturized and then covered with clean bandages.
Benefits of Webbed Finger Surgery
There are a few benefits to undergoing a webbed finger procedure:
- An increase in self-confidence -- Patients who spend much time hiding his or her fingers will experience more self-confidence and mobility in having four fingers and thumb
- Decreased risk of complication – Though there are no direct health risks linked to webbed fingers, bones may become deformed through time and bend if the tips are fused together. This may cause pain and reduce function with daily activities
Costs of Webbed Finger Surgery
Costs for webbed finger surgery in the U.S. may range from $1,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on individual circumstances and needs, as well as technique used to correct the condition. Costs may also include post-surgical care and therapy in some cases. Syndactyly surgery abroad is typically cheaper, due to different health care delivery systems.
Choosing Your Doctor
What should a person look for when it comes to determining whether a doctor or surgeon is right for you? There are many different sub-specialists within the field of orthopedics. Orthopedic surgeons can complete up to 14 years of education and must pass board certified oral and written examinations by the Board of Orthopedic Surgery in whatever country they are practicing.
An orthopedic surgeon can specialize in certain body areas, such as the hands, feet, shoulders, knee, hip or spinal areas. No matter where you live, you should be able to check the credentials of any physician or surgeon through a State, Provincial or National Board of Orthopedic Surgeons to find information about any particular physician, surgeon or specialist in this field.
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