What is Syndactyly

Syndactyly is a congenital condition where two or more fingers don’t separate into individual appendages. The fingers are often fused together with the webbing of the hand. It commonly affects the middle and ring fingers and the thumb and pointer finger. The webbing can either completely join two fingers together or it can connect parts of the two fingers.

There are multiple classifications of syndactyly. These include:

Complete Syndactyly: The joining involves the complete fingers (all the way to the tip)

Partial Syndactyly: The joining involves only part of the fingers

Cutaneous (aka Simple) Syndactyly: The fingers are connected only with skin

Complex Syndactyly: The fingers are connected via bones and joints

Complicated Syndactyly: The joining of fingers that correlate with a syndrome or other health issue

Syndactyly is most often caused by delayed or abnormal development of the arms, fingers and skin during gestation. Another, less common cause of Syndactyly is scaring and trauma due to the unborn baby as a result Amniotic (or Constriction Band) Syndrome.

Some babies with Syndactyly may also have Symbrachydactyly, a form of Syndactyly where the fingers are unusually short, and sometimes barely visible, and webbed.

Treating Syndactyly

Corrective surgery is the only way to treat Syndactyly. The timing of the surgery will be dependent on which fingers are involved. In most cases, surgery can begin as early as six months of age and can go through 18 months of age.

A skin graft is commonly used in Syndactyly correction surgery.

At the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah, we strive to give each patient the best quality of life as possible. Our medical professionals will diagnose and recommend individualized treatment for each Syndactyly case.

Untreated Syndactyly

Syndactyly isn’t known to contribute to any serious health conditions that threaten one’s life. However, patients with Syndactyly can have trouble in gripping items which can impact their ability to write and they experience psychological and self-esteem issues because their fingers look different.

Additional Information

Having joined fingers or short or webbed fingers can make everyday tasks like gripping difficult and having fingers that look differently can cause stress and self-esteem issues.

Contact the Cleft & Craniofacial Institute of Utah to schedule a consultation to learn more about your child’s Syndactyly surgical treatment options.

Our Expertise

Cleft Lip/Palate

 Cleft lips and palates are one of the most common birth anomalies that affect about 1/600 newborn babies in the United States and around 1/500 in the state of Utah.  Clefts can range from quite mild to fairly severe.  Most of the time they are an isolated anomaly, but are also associated with a number of gentic syndromes.  Depending on what structures are involved dictates the complexity of the treatment plan.   Our team works together with you to make a customized plan for  your baby.  Even the most severe of cases should be able to be treated with only a few surgical interventions by a well coordinated and efficient team.






The skull is made up of several different bones that are joined together by growth plates called "sutures."  Craniosynostosis is a condition where one or more of these sutures fuse prematurely causing an abnormal head shape, decreased cranial volume, and the possiblilty of raised intracranial pressure.  The treatment of craniosynostosis is surgical and the goals of surgery are to increase the volume of the skul and to correct the abnormal appearance of the head shape.  There are two methods of surgical correction: open vault reconstruction and strip craniectomy.  Dr. Griner's extensive training allows him to perform these complex procedures without the need for blood transfusions and spending only 1-2 nights in the hospital. 



There are many syndromes that can affect the shape of the head and face and include Aperts, Crouzon, Pfieffer, Treacher Collins, and many others.  Most of these syndromes include many other complex anomalies and need to be treated in a coordinated approach in order to reduce the number of operations the child will need.  These syndromes are rare and require specialists that are very familiar with the intricacies of each syndrome.  Dr. Griner's unique training provided him with extensive experience with craniofacial syndromes and makes him the premier choice to guide the management of your child's needs in Utah.





Ear Deformities

Ear deformities range from mild changes in shape to the complete abscence of an ear and deafness.  Mild deformities can be treated in the first few weeks of life while others will require reconstructive surgery and hearing aids.  No matter the severity, our specialists work together to provide normal appearance and improved hearing.


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