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J Hand Surg Am. 2004 Nov;29(6):994-1001.

Analysis of anatomic variations in cleft hands.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital, Kiel, Germany.



This study presents an overview of the clinical and x-ray findings observed in 54 cleft hands of 31 patients. The emphasis was on a detailed analysis of typical malformation-associated x-ray patterns such as aplasia and synostosis, with findings arranged as a function of cleft location and of the Manske and Halikis classification.


The charts and radiographs of 31 patients with 54 cleft hands were reviewed retrospectively and compared with data reported in the literature. Important clinical and x-ray findings as well as the typical morphology of cleft hands were analyzed. Cleft hands were differentiated according to their location and according to the Manske and Halikis classification. In the different locations the deformities were arranged in teratologic sequences.


In cleft hands syndactylies were seen in 30 of the 54 hands, most commonly between the ring and the small finger. In 3 hands polydactylies were noted. Analysis of the x-ray morphology showed 2 typical patterns: aplasia and synostoses. Location-specific teratologic sequences showed that radial cleft hands were bilateral more frequently and were associated significantly more frequently with cleft feet. Aplasias predominated in radial cleft hands, whereas synostoses were more common in central cleft hands. In terms of the Manske and Halikis classification the unilateral cleft hands often corresponded to type I whereas bilateral cleft hands with cleft feet mainly were type IV and type V deformities. Cleft hands with synostoses often were seen in types I to III whereas cleft hands with aplasias were classified most frequently as type V.


Analysis of the patients' clinical data and x-rays showed differences between radial and central cleft hands, as well as between the different Manske and Halikis types.

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