Approximately one in every thousand children is born with a congenital upper limb difference. These conditions can include complete or partial absence of a limb, failure of fingers to separate, duplication of fingers, overgrowth and undergrowth as well as constriction ring syndrome. Along with the physical differences this presents as a child grows and develops, there can also be mental and emotional challenges.
A recent study led by Donald S. Bae, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Boston Children’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Center, evaluated the physical level of function as well as the mental and emotional health of almost 600 children with congenital upper limb differences. Ultimately, the study found that while children with congenital hand differences had decreased upper limb function, they have better peer relationships and positive emotional states compared to population norms.