Sunday, November 23, 2014

title pic 10 Fingers, 10 Toes and Limb Defects

Posted by Claudia Grazioso on July 11, 2011

10 Fingers/Limb

“Ten toes. Ten fingers!” I’ve heard more than a few doctors say that when a baby is first born. And even though we all have ultrasounds these days, it is still a relief — especially when you are reeling from post-labor hormone rushes. Moms like to hear it. But sometimes that’s not exactly the case. If you’re in this situation, don’t panic. There are many options and ways to treat limb defects.

“Limb defects” is, obviously, a term that applies to a wide-ranging variety of congenital birth defects that affect the appearance and functionality of a child’s limbs. It applies to any malformation of a limb that occurred while the child was in utero. Some of the most common limb defects are the complete or partial absence of a limb, a failure of limbs to properly separate (for example, excess “webbing” between fingers and toes), the growth of extra fingers or toes, or the undergrowth or overgrowth of a limb.

No one is entirely certain what causes limb defects, but some doctors believe that the risk is elevated if the mother has taken certain medications during pregnancy or has been exposed to certain chemicals or viruses. Clubfoot, one of the most common congenital birth defects, is a limb defect that has been linked to SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressants. Additionally, other studies have concluded that exposure to pesticides during pregnancy can increase the risk of congenital limb defects. While most risk is associated with long-term exposure, it is recommended that expectant mothers do their best to avoid pesticides, as they are toxic. Some studies have shown that the risk to the fetus from pesticide exposure is the greatest very early on in pregnancy, from about the third week to the eighth week. You don’t have to work yourself up into a sweat over it, but it’s not a bad idea to avoid using pesticides in and around your home during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.

Because there are so many different kinds of limb defects, there is no single treatment approach. But doctors will usually take into account the child’s age, their general health and the severity of the defect. They will also want to discuss the goal of the corrective approach they will take. Usually, the hope is to allow the child to develop as normally as possible, and learn independence and the ability to care for him or herself. Cosmetic considerations will also most likely be discussed. The most common treatment options are surgical procedures, the use of splints or braces (commonly used in the treatment of clubfoot), physical therapy or possibly even prosthesis.

So relax. Even if you didn’t hear the off-the-cuff “Ten fingers, ten toes!” you still have a lot of treatment options and choices.

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