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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Syndactyly

11/29/2006

Question:

Hi, I was born with my right index and ring finger stuck together and my right middle finger was not developed fully which left a bump on the middle of the back of my right hand pertruding about a 1/4 of an inch. No one in my immeadiate family (mother, father, sister, grandparents) or my extended family (2nd, 3rd cousins, distant relatives) on both sides of my family has anything near this condition (everyone is born with all fingers). I am the only one in my family who this has happened to.

I am wondering is my situation just a case of "random" syndactyly or something genetic that just happened to pop up?

Sidenote - I had surgery on my hand when i was about 11 and the appearance of my hand is as if I was born with only four fingers (no one ever notices that I am missing one).

Answer:

What you describe is most likely a random birth defect. 3-5 % of all babies born each year are born with some type of birth defect. I cannot say what caused the abnormality of your hand, and while no one in your family has a similar defect; it is not possible to say whether or not your children might be born with a similar defect. Many isolated birth defects, situations where there are no other abnormalities present, can run in families.

I would recommend that you talk to a geneticist or genetic counselor about the defect. By examining your hand, they may be able to be more specific about a cause. You can locate a genetics center near you at the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ Resource Center website listed below.

Related Resources:

National Society of Genetic Counselors Resource Center

For more information:

Go to the Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University