General Newsworthy

Rare Condition of Patient with 3- arms, Special Relationship

It has been more than 10 years since I first met a special child from Central America. He had a condition which is incredibly rare, with only a few reports ever. You see, Erickson was born with 3- arms. His right side was normal but, on the left, he two arms. The upper one had a normal shoulder and humerus with a single non-functional forearm bone while the lower bone was attached to his torso and had a more normal forearm bone and two somewhat functional digits.

Rare condition with two arms on the left
X-ray of patient with two arms on the left

Together with Dr. Paul Manske, we performed an innovate surgery, combining the best parts of both arms. We maintained the upper arm’s shoulder and humerus and fused the lower arm’s forearm bone with two functioning fingers. We maintained the nerves and arteries of the lower arm to move it onto the upper arm’s humerus.

After surgery to combine the two arms. Note the 2 fingers which function.
X-ray showing the combined two arms.

Surgery was successful and super helpful both from a functional standpoint and for appearance. While he favors his normal right arm, his left arm plays a role in activities such as riding a bike and other games. We did share his ‘case’ in the medical literature in 2010 in the Journal of Hand Surgery with theories on how this may have happened

Erickson riding a bike with a minor adjustment for his left arm

Erickson did quite well and is back in St Louis. I recently had the chance to catch up with him at a fundraising event for the World Pediatric Project, the sponsor and facilitator of his initial visit. Erickson has become quite the public ambassador for the WPP, aiding others in receiving the care that the WPP helps to provide.

Erickson doing great years after his surgery.

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