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Q&A:
Is it common for a baby to have a sixth finger?

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Question


Almost 30 days after our daughter's birth, we noticed that she has six fingers on the right hand. The doctor calls it an accessory finger -- a twin of the little finger, fully formed with bone and not protruding out in any manner. It looks absolutely normal, which is why we did not notice it in the first month! Is this a common disorder? What is your advice on surgery?

Answer


Your daughter's condition is called polydactyly. It's very common and often runs in families. When I was an intern, one of the senior physicians taught me to always count fingers and toes on babies as these are easy to overlook when they are so perfectly formed. So don't feel bad about missing this at first. These extra digits must be removed surgically as early as 6 months but no later than 3 to 4 years when your daughter starts to count. Your pediatrician can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who works with children or does a lot of work on hands. This surgery can be done easily as an outpatient and will be harder on the parents than the child. As pediatricians, we always look for other abnormalities when we find one even minor difference than this one. So I assume that your daughter has been examined carefully. This is small matter that is very easily fixed.  
 
 
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