In most cases, doctors remove an extra finger or toe in early childhood. The goal of treatment is to give your child a hand or foot that works well and looks typical. There are also practical concerns, such as removing an extra toe so your child’s foot fits well into shoes.
The method for removing an extra digit depends on how it connects to the hand or foot. An extra digit may connect with only a narrow piece of tissue, or it may connect more deeply and share bones, muscles and other tissues with the hand or foot.
If the digit is poorly formed and contains no bone, sometimes the treatment is as simple as attaching a clip at the base during a clinic visit. The clip stops blood flow to the digit so it will fall off, like the stump of belly button does soon after birth.
If the extra finger or toe is well formed, you may elect to have surgery to remove it. This is usually done when a child is about 1 year old. This does not typically require an overnight stay at the hospital. Surgery is based on the complexity of the condition. Complex cases, where the extra finger or toe has bone, muscles, blood vessels and nerves, may require complex surgery.
After surgery, your child may need to wear a cast or splint on his / her hand or foot while it heals. The doctor will want your child to come back for follow-up visits to make sure he / she is healing well.
Children who have more complex surgery may need occupational therapy to help them avoid stiffness.