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Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2004 Apr-Jun;36(2-3):152-60.

Simplicity and treatment of the typical cleft hand.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, The Children's Hospital and Shriner's Burns Institute, Boston, MA, USA.


The typical cleft hand is now distinguished from symbrachydactyly. This review of the surgical treatment of 108 hands in 63 patients treated over a 28-year period concentrates upon the technical principles of surgical correction. The key to these reconstructions is a wide incision which extends from the ulnar side of the cleft around the malpositioned index finger to the thumb. This wide exposure provides clear identification of all anatomic structures within the palm. There are no tenuous flaps with narrow random pedicles. These difficult surgical corrections may often include index transposition, metacarpal and/or phalangeal osteotomies, joint releases, phalangeal ostectomies, preservation of the adductor pollicis muscle, first dorsal interosseous muscle release, syndactyly separation(s) and thumb duplication correction. Following reposition of all skeletal structures the dorsal and palmar full-thickness flaps are easily contoured to create a satisfactory first webspace. Outcomes data shows that although the pinch and grip remain weak, these hands are quite functional. It is important that the repositioned index ray not interfere with gripping and precision maneuvers between the mobile thumb and the ulnar two digits (ring and small) of the hand.

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