A “congenital hand difference” is any condition of the hand or arm that is present in a child at birth. There are a wide number of congenital hand differences a person can be born with, all of which result in different impact on the afflicted hand’s appearance and functionality.
Congenital hand differences are developed during the early stages of pregnancy, during which the upper limbs of the baby are first formed. While some conditional hand differences are hereditary, others result from medical conditions, and as a whole, it is often difficult for doctors to pinpoint the exact cause of a congenital hand difference.
While a congenital hand difference can be a shock to new parents, they need to understand that many innovative treatments, therapies and surgeries can help your child live a happy and productive life – doing all of things that children do!
In this article, Detroit area board certified hand surgeon Dr. Rehman will discuss some of the things to know about congenital hand differences, as well as what treatment options are available.
What is a Congenital Hand Difference?
Congenital hand differences affect not only the shape of a child’s hand or arm, but also its ability to function. Out of every 10,000 babies born, are born with congenital hand differences, with the conditions affecting more boys than girls.
In some cases, such as missing bones or extra fingers during a prenatal ultrasound, it is possible to detect congenital hand differences prior to birth. However, this is relatively uncommon, with most congenital hand differences being detected only after the baby has been delivered.
There are two categories into which congenital hand differences are divided: malformations and deformations.
Malformations occur when part of the baby’s hand or arm fails to develop normally during gestation. Malformations typically occur 4 to 8 weeks after conception, the period of time during which the baby’s upper limbs begin to develop.
Deformations occur when the hand or arm begin the normal process of development, but are somehow prevented from doing so. Deformation congenital hand differences generally occur during the later periods of pregnancy.
Causes of Congenital Hand Difference
Occasionally, medical conditions or syndromes that affect multiple parts of the body can cause congenital hand differences. Congenital hand differences may also, in some cases, be passed down hereditarily. In most cases, however the cause of a congenital hand difference remains unknown, with doctors unable to determine the exact cause.
Diagnosing Congenital Hand Difference
It is possible to detect most congenital hand differences shortly after birth. Following a careful examination of the child’s arm and hand, in most cases a diagnosis can be presented as to the child’s specific type of congenital hand difference. Following this, parents of children with congenital hand differences are encouraged to set up a consultation with Detroit area hand specialist Dr. Uzma Rehman.
Some cases of congenital hand differences can be diagnosed through x-rays. Through x-ray imaging, the bones of the child’s affected hand and arm can be properly evaluated. Children with a family history of congenital hand differences are most often evaluated with an X-ray.
If the child’s congenital hand difference is associated with other medical conditions or syndromes, other tests may be ordered to determine if additional body parts -such as the kidneys or heart- could be potentially afflicted.
Treating Congenital Hand Difference
By treating congenital hand differences, Detroit-area board certified hand expert Dr. Rehman aims to improve the function and appearance of the impacted hand as much as is physically possible. While it is possible for children to simply adapt to living with congenital hand differences, through both surgery and physical therapy, children have the potential to gain greater independence and freedom from their condition.
While most children are able to adapt to life with them and may not ever require any treatment, congenital hand differences can result in a number of both physical and emotional challenges. Fortunately, thanks to care from Detroit-area board certified congenital hand difference expert Dr. Uzma Rehman, anyone suffering from a congenital hand difference has access to proper treatment.
Each child is unique and Board Certified Oakland County area board certified hand surgeon Dr. Rehman is here to offer your child the surgery, physical therapy and medical care he or she needs to live a full and happy life.
Doctor Rehman will assess your child’s individual condition with gentleness and compassion, and offer the state-of-the-art treatments that are best for your child.