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An example of brachymetacarpia of the third digit

Brachymetacarpia is a condition whereby one of the five metacarpal bones of the hand is abnormally short, resulting in a shortened finger. It most commonly affects the fourth finger. Brachymetacarpia is caused when the growth plate of the metacarpal closes early, resulting in premature stoppage of growth. This can be a congenital condition or can be an acquired deformity following trauma, infection, tumor, radiation, or prior surgery. Acquired brachymetacarpia can be associated with skeletal and systemic abnormalities, including:

  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia
  • Multiple hereditary exostoses
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Polydactyly or syndactyly can also be found in combination with brachymetacarpia. Any associated problems will need to be addressed either before or during treatment of the short finger.

Treatment for brachymetacarpia includes lengthening the short metacarpal.

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