Definition of Polydactyly

Polydactyly is extra fingers or toes. Polydactyly may occur spontaneously and isolated (without apparent cause) or in conjunction with genetic disorders such as Patau’s syndrome (trisomy 13).

Most often the extra digit is on the little finger or little toe side of the hand or foot, respectively, and is so rudimentary as to be functionless.

Nearly always the doctor recommends removing the extra digit, which may be done with banding (the doctor places a band tightly around the base of a rudimentary digit, cutting off its blood supply so it slowly withers and falls off) or as a surgical amputation.

See also AUTOSOMAL TRISOMY; SYNDACTYLY.

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