It has been too long since I last blogged. Several catch- up blogs are on the way. In the meanwhile, I have been to several interesting events in the last month.
First, we had our annual St Louis Shriners Hospital Hand Camp. There were approximately 18 children with their families, 10 junior counselors, and a variety of therapists and volunteers from the hospital. This 3- day camp at a rural lodge is an amazing experience for all involved. The camp participants, those with notable hand deformities, are able to interact with others like themselves, experience new activities such as archery and wall climbing, and learn from the junior counselors. My favorite part has become the group discussions- one with parents alone and another with parents and the junior counselors. The exchange of information and advice is amazing! Here are a few pictures and one video from the weekend.
|Eli, a long time patient and friend, demonstrating how a to use a bow with radial deficiency|
The following video shows the same two campers with below elbow amputations (symbrachydactyly) successfully climbing an impressive wall (written and appreciated by someone who struggled up the same wall). Check it out and look carefully at the climbing technique!
The other event was the annual meeting of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, in September in Chicago. As always, the meeting was a great chance for hand surgeons from across the world to congregate and learn from one another. I had the opportunity to help lead (with Don Bae from Boston) a 4.5 hour Precourse on Congenital Hand Anomalies. We had a great panel of speakers from the United States as well as Australia (Dr Tonkin) and South Korea (Dr Baek). The exchange of information was amazing. The only disappointment was that our room was not large enough to seat the entire audience!
Wow – I have just found your blog and am amazed at the wealth of information here! Thank you! – A question for you: In light of the wall climbing videos and with a specific friend in mind with severe symbrachydactyly, can you comment on how that always/usually/rarely affects the surrounding muscle structure? I'm particularly curious about muscle formation of the shoulder and back on the affected side. Thank you!
Thank you Keri. You are correct- patients with severe symbrachydactyly (which may also be referred to as a transverse arrest or a congenital amputation) are obviously missing a significant part of the arm and may be missing the entire hand. But even the structures which are present may be affected. The arm is usually shorter and narrower than the opposite arm. The muscles of the shoulder and back are, in my experience, relatively normal, but the chest muscles, the pectoralis in particular, may be deficient- called Polands syndrome. When severe, this can even affect the chest wall and ribs.