Patient, Jaxon, playing outside.

Feb 14, 2018 / Hand Disorders

Jaxon's New Thumb: A Pollicization Patient Story

Jaxon is a hand patient at Scottish Rite Hospital. When he was born, his parents noticed that he was missing a thumb on his right hand. Through his expert care from hand surgeon Scott Oishi, M.D., the team decided the pollicization was the best treatment option. Learn more about the procedure and Jaxon's journey. 

Watch Jaxon's story.

What is the pollicization procedure?
When a child is born without a thumb or a functioning thumb, this procedure moves the index finger to act as a thumb. The index finger is moved down the hand into the thumb position and then rotated in opposition to the other fingers. 

Jaxon's Journey:
  • Born without a thumb on his right hand.
  • Through occupational therapy and various evaluations, the hand team determined he would be a good fit for a pollicization. 
  • At 18 months old, Jaxon received the procedure.
  • After surgery, he was casted for four and a half weeks. 
  • Once the cast came off, Jaxon wore a cast at night and his parents rubbed lotion on his new thumb to help with scar tissue. 
  • Four to five months after surgery, Jaxon was using his index finger as a full functioning thumb. He went through occupational therapy after surgery to help with his function to become comfortable using it. 
How is a child considering a good candidate for this procedure?
  • While discussing the treatment options with the family, the patient will work with one of our hand occupational therapists to help determine if a pollicization is the right option for the child.
  • If the child is grabbing or pinching toys between their middle and index fingers, they are considered a good candidate for a pollicization. 
  • Children without a functioning thumb and those who are determined candidates for the procedure begin to use their index finger as a thumb early on, even before the surgery.
What is the average age of a patient to receive this procedure?
  • Around 18 months old.
  • When the child is older, and their hands are larger, it makes it easier to do the hand surgery. The child handles surgery (anesthesia) better when they are little older.  
Can children who have the pollicization procedure play sports and do activities?
Patients who undergo this procedure grow up to do any sport or activity. Through therapy, the child can use his or her hand fully. 

Learn more about our hand services or how to become a patient

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