Syndactyly Surgery

One thing I have omitted to discuss so far is that Lachlan was born with a slight birth defect.  He was born with Complete Simple Syndactyly between his 3rd & 4th fingers on both hands.  Basically what this means is that the two fingers were completely fused together but each finger holds it’s own finger structure of bones and muscles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syndactyly

This picture is not of Lachlan’s hand, but this is pretty much exactly the same of how both of his hands looked palm side up

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:New_born_boy_showing_complete_complex_syndactyly_with_two_fingers_right_hand.JPG

We received a text message from the WCH to call the plastics unit while we were at a swimming lesson one day.  We rang them back to find out that Lachlan was scheduled to have his Bilateral Syndactyly Release surgery the following Wednesday, the surgery was 1 day before he was 7 months old.

We were lucky that the condition did not at all effect his development, he was able to still have use of both fingers, it just when he bend one finger the other one came with it (a bit of a 2 for the price of 1 deal).  He was still grabbing, gripping and pulling toys at the normal rate of development, however the sooner this surgery was done the better it would have been for him in later life.  This is due to the fact as Lachlan grew and his fingers grew with him it could potentially stunt the growth of the 3rd finger or it could have them growing into each other causing potential muscle merging resulting in the release surgery being a lot more difficult.

So surgery was scheduled on Wednesday 18th July 2012 and we had to report to the WCH Day Surgery Unit at 7am that morning.  Lachlan had to fast from 2am for any solids or milk and from 6am for any water.  Because I was terrifying at the thought of dealing with a starving baby with no understanding of why he wasn’t allowed to eat I woke him up at 1.30am and made him eat about 3 courses of food. He was sleepily looking at me with confused eyed why he was being woken up and fed but he ate it all the same as he loved loved loved his feed.

At 6am the house was up, packed with an overnight bag for both Lachlan and myself ready to head to the hospital. At 7am we got to the hospital – with a hungry irritable baby being woken up. Luckily at this stage Lachlan was quiet taken with one of the Baby Einstein discs so we had that on constant repeat to distract him from being happy.

**On our way to hospital**

 pre surgery

 We were called to pre-admission at 8.30 in the theatre waiting room with my poor little man in his miniature hospital  robe and his nappy all confused about where he was and what was going on.

Then the time had come, Lachlan and I went into the actual theatre, where I  held my poor scared little baby while they put the gas mask over his head with the anaesthesia in it and slowly he loss consciousness – I will never forget, and it still brings a tear to my eye, the complete fear that was in his eyes. The nurses did the best to console a bawling mum and then ushered me back to the pre-admission area where Jamie was waiting with open arms to give me a big hug and reassure me that he was going to be fine.

The operation was expected to take between 1 and 1 ½ hours.  This was the LONGEST wait of my life.  They had finally shown us up to the post surgery ward where Lachlan and I would spend the night….
After 2 hours Jamie and I were both getting a bit antsy so Jamie went to ask if there were any updates, they rang theatre and everything was going routine.
After 2 ½ hours we were just about going mental with worry and stress waiting and waiting for our precious little man to be returned to us, once again Jamie ventured to the nurses station for an update – where once again everything was going ok.
After 3 hours it’s safe to say we were both sick with worry REALLY just wanted to see our little person…then we got the message that he was out of theatre and in recovery and he would be back in the ward with us within the next 45 minutes depending on how he came out from the Anaesthesia.  This gave me a sufficient distraction to run around like a blue arse fly trying to get everything ready in the room to make it ready for him with his favourite things and most important have a bottle ready to go for our poor little starving man.

Within 15 minutes, Jamie and I looked up at each other and said “We know that cry” and sure enough our little nugget was already out of theatre and out of recovery and was screaming his entire way down the hallway into our room. The nurse pretty much screamed as she was in the doorway – quick get his milk lol.

A big bottle of milk down the screaming subsided and our happy little man was back.  It’s hard to believe that this photo was taken only 45 minutes after coming out of surgery –  we were (and still are) sooooo proud of our little rockstar!!

 post surgery

After a bit of a play and some story time Lachlan was ready for a real feed and after a serve of savoury, a tub of yoghurt AND a tub of custard we were ready for a snooze in mummy’s arms.  Lachlan came out of the surgery with no adverse reactions to the Anaesthesia and has quite amused by the two gigantic big boxing gloves on both hands.

He slept a little bit of routine that day due to the interruptions and apparently 4am was morning party time, so weary eyed mum was pushing a mini Mohammed Ali up and down the ward hall ways in this little red car thinking he was king pin! 

 photo 1

 He recovered so well we were discharged at 10am the following morning – less than 24 hours after he came out of surgery.

He loved that little red car so much and being pushed around in it when he had his big gloves on – we bought him one…he just loved cruising around in it looking at the world go by and playing with his cousin to keep him entertained.

photo 3photo 2

 The follow up appointments were weekly, fortnightly and then monthly.  He had to have the big boxing gloves for almost 3 weeks, from then he was down to mittens for about 3 weeks with his fingers covered and his thumbs outs so he could at least grip things again for another 3 weeks.  Within 6 weeks post surgery he no longer needed any dressings and all was healing beautiful.

**The unravelling of the boxing gloves with the confused look on his face and then streamlined to his new mittens**

photo 4

Ten months on from the surgery and today you wouldn’t even know that he has had surgery on both of his hands. You can only see tiny scars of where the skin grafts were if you look closely. The Plastics unit at WCH did such an amazing job of this surgery and our little man now has the 10 perfect fingers that you except them to be born with to go with the 10 perfect toes he has.

photo 5

This cute little video is from the day we got home – you can see he still has his hospital band around his ankle and clearly still has the big boxing gloves

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7 thoughts on “Syndactyly Surgery

  1. So glad to have found this!!!! My little man has the same condition and will be having surgery in a few month : ( it makes my heart smile to read this! Thank you for sharing.

    • You’re more than welcome Amanda – best of luck for your little ones surgery in a couple months time. Take your iPod with all your favorite happy tunes and a couple magazines to keep you occupied x

  2. Pingback: You say nervous, I say shitting bricks | mumtolachlan

  3. hello ,I am very glad to read your.I have a 2 days old boy with a very similar condition.please help me I am very nervous and I really worry! I live in Toronto.where is the hospital that did the job for you? I do not know where to start!please guide us
    thank u

  4. I am so relieved to read your story, my granddaughter will also be going through this she has full 5 finger simplex(we think, she is going to see surgeon next month for her test and consultation) Syndactyly. Thank you for sharing your story! Your little boy is a real trooper!

    • I’m glad my story could help you ease your mind! It was a long and scary wait as parents but so worth it. It was 17 months ago now and I can barely even remember the wait but know it was awful at the time. Best of luck to your grand daughter sending lots of love and good vibes….I’m sure she will be fine and be a little warrior through it all to 🙂

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