Five year old Keith Harris was the most popular kid in his Houston elementary school last week when he showed up with his new space-age prosthetic hand. In yet another amazing development from 3-D printing, Keith, who was born with symbrachydactyly, was able to show off to his classmates the coolest hand in the school. Until now, Keith has had to deal with a deformity in his right hand setting him apart from his peers and greatly impacting his motor skills development. But all of this has changed, according to his mother. Keith is a new person, with self-confidence, joy and a new personality to go along with his new hand.
Symbrachydactyly is a very rare condition, affecting one in 32,000 births, and results in the fingers of the hand to be webbed, or some fingers to be extremely short or missing altogether. It usually impacts only one hand. The forearm is also shorter than normal. There are different theories as to what actually causes symbrachydactyly. In the womb, a baby’s hands are shaped liked a mitten. Then, fingers emerge and divide. But for the developing baby with symbrachydactyly, this does not happen due either to inadequate blood flow or problems with the tissue. The normal growth of finger bones does not happen. There is no evidence that the condition is genetic nor due to any external conditions of the pregnancy. Read the rest of this entry →