Sunday, July 28, 2019

Syndactyly: Mermaid feet

Syndactyly (from Greek meaning "together" and "finger") presents when two or more digits of the hands and or feet are fused together. It is unusual in humans but not uncommon. In simple syndactyly, adjacent fingers or toes are joined by soft tissue. In complex syndactyly, the bones of adjacent digits are fused.

Simple syndactyly either full or partial is present at birth (congenital). The exact cause is still unknown but in early human fetal development, webbing of the toes and fingers is normal. Apoptosis takes place about 16 weeks into gestation and usually an enzyme dissolves the tissue between the fingers and toes. In some fetuses, this process does not occur completely and some residual webbing remains.

Syndactyly occurs in approximately one in 2,000 to 2,500 live births. Most commonly the second and third toes are webbed or joined by skin and flexible tissue. Having webbed feet does not affect the function of the foot or toes and walking or swimming and uninhibited. When webbing interferes with the function of the fingers then simple surgery may be recommended. The procedure is straightforward but sometimes there maybe need for a skin graft. In the case of webbed toes, surgical separation is cosmetic with no known medical benefits.

Famous people with syndactyly include, thespians Dan Aykroyd, Ashton Kutcher, the radiant, Tricia Helfer; singers, Rachel Stevens (former member of SClub7);writersRob Neyer, Mike Holderness comic animator Kentaro Miura ; Dictator, Joe Stalin He was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922-53). It is reported he had webbed toes on his left foot; philologiste Paul Meyer; and icon, Marge Simpson. Reviewed 28/07/2019

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