Pollicization Surgery-Pediatric

File:Wrist and hand deeper palmar dissection-numbers.svg

Pollicization surgery creates a functional thumb by transferring the index finger to the thumb position. This is performed when a child has no thumb or severe thumb hypoplasia.

What is it?

Sometimes, children are born without thumbs or have severe thumb hypoplasia. The procedure to give a child a functioning thumb is called pollicization surgery, in which another finger (usually the index) is transferred into the thumb position. This procedure has demonstrated drastically improved results concerning hand function.

What should I do to prepare?

The best candidates for this surgery are children (typically toddlers) who have been using their index finger like a thumb for some time. A helpful preparative measure is to wear nonrestrictive clothing making the post-surgery recovery more comfortable. An occupational or physical therapist should be consulted before the surgery to develop a management plan and determine additional plans for post-surgery therapy.

What happens during the process?

During pollicization, the index finger bone is cut and the finger is rotated approximately 120 to 160 degrees. This bone is inserted at the base of the hand where the thumb is usually located. The arteries and veins are left attached. If nerves and tendons are available from the previous thumb, they are attached to provide sensation and movement to the new thumb.

What are the risks and potential complications?

Like all surgical procedures, pollicization surgeries carry risks and side effects. Risks and complications vary in severity, but include:

  • Negative reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Bleeding


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