Twelve Fingers, Twelve Toes
Kamani Hubbard was born in January of this year, and until a few days after his birth no one noticed any abnormalities. Soon, tough, it became noticeable that an extra finger and extra toe was present on each hand and foot. Doctors have now diagnosed Kamani was a particularly special case of Polydactyly.
Polydactyly is a condition in which a person has more than five fingers per hand or five toes per foot.
In most polydactyly cases, however, only one extra digit is present and most commonly is not functional. Kamani's 12 fingers and 12 toes are all fully functional and take on the full characteristics of regular fingers and toes. The Doctor's of the California hospital where the birth took place had never seen such a case before.
The most common form of polydactyly is a small, soft, extra finger that contains no bone. Many of these can be easily treated at birth by the attending physician who ties a suture tightly around the base.
When doctor's do this, the extra finger/toe usually falls off and the remaining hand/foot heals on it's own quickly. In the case of Kamani, the parents and doctors will wait until the baby is at least one year old so his bones are completely formed to determine if he will keep his extra digits, or have them surgically removed. Since they are fully functional, it would be more of a cosmetic procedure to remove them as opposed to actual necessity. The feet may be more necessary to undergo surgery, as fitting into shoes could be quite the issue with the extra toes.
Currently, the family is leaning toward no surgery, and the doctor's are supporting the decision thinking of the opportunities open to this baby boy.
"It's merely an interesting and beautiful variation rather than a worrisome thing," said Dr. Michael Treece and St. Luke's Hospital Pediatrician. "I would be tempted to leave those fingers in place. I realize children would tease each other over the slightest things, and having extra digits on each hand is more than slight. But imagine what sort of a pianist a 12-fingered person would be imagine what sort of a flamenco guitarist, if nothing else think of their typing skills."