Surgical treatment of congenital syndactyly of the hand.
Syndactyly is a congenital anomaly of the hand that is more common in males, is present bilaterally in 50% of affected patients, and often is associated with other musculoskeletal malformations or systemic syndromes. The goal of syndactyly release is to create a functional hand with the fewest surgical procedures while minimizing complications. For simple syndactyly, surgical reconstruction can begin at approximately 6 months, although many surgeons prefer to wait until the infant is 18 months old. Special situations, such as complex syndactyly and involvement of border digits, may warrant surgical intervention earlier than 6 months. Reconstruction of the web commissure is the most technically challenging part of the operation, followed by separation of the remaining digits. Full-thickness skin grafting is almost always required for soft-tissue coverage. Complex syndactyly and syndactyly associated with other hand anomalies warrant special consideration. After reconstruction, patients should be examined periodically until they have achieved skeletal maturity because late complications such as web creep can occur.