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To remove/not remove my child's fingers

(574 Posts)
24digits Tue 13-Jan-15 22:41:21

My DS was born earlier this year. He's absolutely perfect and is a healthy, happy little baby. He was born with an extra digit on each hand and foot so has 12 fingers and 12 toes. His fingers are perfectly formed with joints and nails. His toes, although they look a little more unusual, are also perfectly formed but do make his feet wider.

Upon leaving hospital we were given follow up appointments with a plastic surgeon to discuss our future options, except when we got there it seemed less like a question and answer session, but more like a discussion on when we will surgically remove DS's extra digits. We left, making it clear we hadn't yet made a decision, but we're told that it was better for DS to have any operation before age 2.

DH and I are completely torn on whether we put our perfectly healthy little boy through two painful operations to remove extra digits. Please can you give me your most honest, unvarnished opinions on what you would do because I really need to feel like we have considered everything before we make a decision.

At the moment we are considering letting DS have the operation to remove his toes so that he will be able to wear shoes, but everyone seems to be certain that my DS will be bullied if his extra fingers aren't removed. Am I subjecting my DS to a life of bullying if we don't go ahead with the operation?

superram Tue 13-Jan-15 22:43:08

Difficult to say when it is your own child but I think I would do it.

superram Tue 13-Jan-15 22:44:06

I would imagine he will choose to have them removed at some point and possibly less stressful now?

SocialMediaAddict Tue 13-Jan-15 22:44:14

Tricky decision but I would do it.

MOTU Tue 13-Jan-15 22:44:25

I would say that if it were me I would probably godhead with the foot operation because I can imagine that will get more and more problematic as he grows but if his fingers are perfectly formed and have mobility eye I would leave them. I don't believe he would be bullied abouth this any more than other aesthetic differences.

mrscumberbatch Tue 13-Jan-15 22:44:28

I'd probably remove them.
Especially the toes- it'll make shoe buying very difficult and you don't want him to be uncomfortable long term.

Re-hands... It's a toughy. But you know how mean kids can be. Imagine him doing hand prints at school...

I wouldn't judge, I find it interesting, but its unusual enough that I'd find it hard not to look twice.

Tough one OP. I hope you make the best decision for you all

LadyLuck10 Tue 13-Jan-15 22:44:44

I would do it too op.

wickedlazy Tue 13-Jan-15 22:46:04

Do it. He will thank you one day!

AppleSnapple Tue 13-Jan-15 22:47:39

I think if it's a short general anaesthetic, which you will put him forward for anyway for his toes, then better to minimise risk by doing it once rather than twice? So do it all at once Rather than decide to do it when he starts school/is more aware of it etc. But I can totally see your point of view- who says 10 is the perfect number? He is no doubt perfect with 12 digits! I wonder would it interfere with pen grip/writing etc, sport, gripping a racquet/club/bat or whatever? Just things to consider

TheWitTank Tue 13-Jan-15 22:47:54

I would do it. Completely understand why it is a tough decision though. flowers

Lazymummy2014 Tue 13-Jan-15 22:47:56

Honestly, yes you probably are. And this may obviously create confidence problems / psychological trauma that will be worse than the bullying itself.

From a practical point of view will the extra digits cause manual dexterity problems? Issues with writing and therefore problems at school?

What do the doctors say about recovery time, post op pain relief etc? It may be that the actual experience won't be as bad for your son as you think. Also as he's so young he'll not remember - though I appreciate this will be little comfort to you or him at the time.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Tue 13-Jan-15 22:47:58

I think if I was in your situation, I would definitely have the extra toes removed, not so sure about the fingers though.

skittycat Tue 13-Jan-15 22:48:57

I can only give the point of view from removal. I was born with extra fingers - they were attached on the little finger. They were removed at a very early age to the point that I don't know what life with them was like, nor do I remember any pain through removal.

Through out school (and life in general), no one noticed the scars remaining from where the fingers were, and as a consequence never questioned or queried. Do I think that there are likely to be comments from other children if you didnt have the extra digits removed? Yes, I do. Can't say what sort of comments they would be - inquisitive or purely cruel.

At the end of the day, my extra fingers were useless… didn't do anything. So why keep them when they did nothing and potentially would cause issues (both bulling and self esteem) later on down the line.

mummyrunnerbean Tue 13-Jan-15 22:49:01

I'd do the toes for shoe practicality purposes, but leave the fingers, assuming as pp said that they're mobile and functional. I'd have quite enjoyed having extra functioning fingers as a child, and would have been irritated if my parents had removed such a defining 'difference'. Not all kids just want to fit in - if you leave it, presumably it can be done later if he wants, even if before two would be better?

gointothewoods Tue 13-Jan-15 22:49:10

I'd remove. I'd hate to open him up to bullying or feeling like a "weirdo" in future years. Having them removed now means he won't remember and will recover quickly.

Gileswithachainsaw Tue 13-Jan-15 22:50:09

I would do it. It will be done eventually and probably better when he won't remember it and it won't require time off school or whatever and won't trigger any insecurities regarding appearances.

If shoes are hard to come by then getting them could cost a fortune.

I know the usual stance on MN is to show the world you won't conform etc but you don't know your ds will be that strong confident kid that will shrug it off.

DreamingDiva13 Tue 13-Jan-15 22:50:12

I would do it, I don't think its something in the long term I would be happy standing out for myself and it's almost inevitable he will want it done himself at some point-much kinder for him to have little recollection of the op.

MistletoeBUTNOwine Tue 13-Jan-15 22:50:46

It's a very tough decision, and I don't have an answer for you.. sad
I'd be tempted to leave it until he can make the decision himself.
They are after all HIS fingers and toes, and as yet not causing him any problems..
I sympathise with you thanks

24digits Tue 13-Jan-15 22:51:24

It is really hard and the fact that DS may not be able to wear shoes makes the feet decision a little easier, but it's so hard to think of my tiny baby up past his elbows in plaster because of the reaction of other children (as natural as that may be). I can't really think of any disadvantages to having an extra finger, except for the fact that it's not the same as the majority of other people.

That said, my DH and I were asked if we were related (we're absolutely not) and I'd hate DS to have those kind of comments thrown at him.

Apparently Gemma Arteton was born with extra fingers but had them removed as a child.

Brummiegirl15 Tue 13-Jan-15 22:51:46

I have to say, I would do it. Kids can be utterly vile if someone is different and yes I think he would get teased. It shouldn't happen but it does. No child wants to be different.

That said I feel for you, what a horrible decision to make. All I can say is perhaps the earlier you son has the op - hopefully he will not remember in years to come

Howlongtillbedtime Tue 13-Jan-15 22:53:18

The toes sounds more of an easy decision to me than the fingers . I can't see the bullying issue , I think my sons would think someone with extra fingers was pretty cool , they have never frowned upon difference though .

If they would be fully functioning I am not sure I would put him through the op , are there any people out there in adulthood that have extra digits you can talk to ?

Purplepoodle Tue 13-Jan-15 22:53:43

I'm a parent and I would have the extra fingers and toes removed. People are cruel.

notonyourninny Tue 13-Jan-15 22:55:47

I don't know the answer but (((hugs))) of course he perfect whatever you decide. Best wishes.

FightOrFlight Tue 13-Jan-15 22:56:06

Nobody wants to put their child through an operation which would considered to be for cosmetic reasons. The worry about GA would weigh heavy on my mind I must admit.

Having said that I would go ahead with the operation. Its not only children that can be cruel about this sort of thing - I think he will have a difficult time ahead of him without the operation.

CallMeExhausted Tue 13-Jan-15 22:56:06

Personally, I would contact parents who have experience with this situation. Polydactyly is not as uncommon as one might think, but speaking with parents who have made the decision might help you.

There are logistical sides of this to consider, as well - for example... Your beautiful and perfect little boy would have trouble in any situation that requires wearing gloves, potentially limiting what he sees himself as capable of doing in the future.

I wish you all the best with your decision.

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