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Ectrodactyly: “Lobster Claw Syndrome”

Ectrodactyly: “Lobster Claw Syndrome”
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split hand malformation

Ectrodactyly is also called “Lobster Claw Syndrome” or split hand malformation. It is characterized by the absence of a central digit/finger, which gives a the hand a split appearance. Ectrodactyly can also affect the feet, with a central toe missing, causing the foot to be split into two distinct parts. This condition is very rare, being found in only 1 out of every 18,000 births. It is found equally in males and females.

What Causes Ectrodactyly?

Ectrodactyly is caused by a human gene defect inherited as an autosomal dominant or as a duplication of 10q24.

Types of Ectrodactyly

There is only one known type of ectrodactyly.

Ectrodactyly Symptoms

  • Absence of fingers or toes
  • Split, claw-like appearance of the hands or feet


Diagnosing Ectrodactyly

Your child’s pediatrician can diagnose ectrodactyly based on a physical examination since the symptoms are physically apparent. They may also order x-rays of the affected hand or foot just to make a better assessment of the condition.

Treating Ectrodactyly

Some cases of ectrodactyly can be corrected (to an extent) with reconstructive surgery. Reconstructive surgery can give the hands or feet a more medically “normal” appearance. Most patients with ectrodactyly do not seek medical treatment and instead learn to navigate life with the malformation.

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