Yesterday was the appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Caitlin slept through the whole appointment, snoring included. It didn’t matter how much we played with her arms or feet, she just kept on sleeping.

As we thought, the fact that she has a nearly fully developed thumb is going to help her out greatly. Between that and her four nubs she will be able to grasp at items and have some use of her left hand. There will be on occasion things she can’t use it for, but the doctor believes that in most situations she will adapt. The important thing is that she has been using the hand and that we continue to encourage her to use it. None of us thought this would be an issue.

The doctor also commented that her having a fully developed right hand is going to help also. Between the two he said she will absolutely amaze us with what she’ll be able to do. Being born with an under developed hand she knows nothing different and therefore will grow up learning to use it. This is very different than someone who has had a hand and lost it. Caitlin already wows me, I’m sure she’ll continue to 🙂

Even more interesting, the doctor pointed out that she has a secondary crease around her right arm that she does not have around her left arm. This crease is a sign of amniotic banding and confirms the theory that amniotic bands are what caused the stunted growth of her left hand. In other words, we are incredibly lucky that the band on her right arm did not tighten as it was just above her elbow (meaning she most likely would not have developed the rest of that arm).

We did briefly discuss surgical options and there are some. However as we all know surgery comes along with pain. He indicated that in the past he has performed surgeries to help expand the bones or move a toe up to the hand to be a finger. However in many cases the children quit using the hand all together because they associated pain with its use after the fact. This all makes perfect sense. Right now the only surgery we would potentially consider wouldn’t be an option until she is past the age of two. It would be a simple surgery to lengthen her thumb by cutting into the web between her thumb and palm. The doctor indicated that this is the easiest of the surgeries to do and typically did not lead to discontinued use of the hand.

For now we’ll just have occasional appointments where he’ll check up on her. We go back in October and then probably once a year thereafter. More than anything the evaluations are to ensure that she is continuing to use the hand. If we find that for some reason she is not he will probably advise therapy to get her using it.

All in all the appointment went well. Jack and I already focus on treating her hands as equal as possible and encourage her to play with both. I foresee her wowing us more than we could imagine…

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