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Success! Sela from Cambodia raised $321 for surgery to separate her fingers.

  • $321 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Sela's treatment was fully funded on May 2, 2016.

Photo of Sela post-operation

June 21, 2016

Sela received surgery to separate her fingers.

Sela’s surgery went well. She will have physical therapy for one week and a followup appointment in one month to check on the condition of her skin grafts. She is not in any pain and can do things by herself now like play with dolls and cars.

“I am so happy to see my daughter can do things by herself now,” Sela’s mother shared in their post-operative interview. “Thank you for helping us.”

Sela's surgery went well. She will have physical therapy for one week and a followup appointment in one month to check on the condition of h...

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April 21, 2016

Sela is an eight-month-old baby girl from Cambodia. Sela is living with syndactyly–she has webbed fingers and an extra digit on her left hand. Due to these abnormalities, it has been very difficult for Stela to use her hand. Thus, she and her mother traveled three hours to seek the help of our medical partner, Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC).

Under normal conditions, the webbing dissolves, leaving five independent digits on every extremity. With syndactyly, on the other hand, the degradation of the tissue between fingers or toes is left incomplete during gestation and, in a few cases, like Sela’s, the webbing also covers an extra digit wedged in between. This specific situation, known as “polysyndactyly,” is a very rare occurrence, but when treated early in life it does not present lasting complications. However, if left unaddressed, Sela will lose significant functionality in her left hand.

For $321, Sela will undergo a syndactyly repair, which will include a release to separate her fingers and a procedure to remove her extra digit. She will have also receive a skin graft to help heal her remaining digits. The funds will also cover supplies, inpatient care for ten days, and follow up visits for up to one year after the procedure.

Because of the skin graft, this operation can be slightly more complicated than other surgeries, but CSC’s medical team says that the benefits of surgery (releasing Sela’s digits and allowing her to live a comfortable life) outweigh the minor risks.

Sela’s parents are grateful and eager to have her surgery done. “I hope my daughter will have a normal hand like other people after surgery,” shares Sela’s mother.

Sela is an eight-month-old baby girl from Cambodia. Sela is living with syndactyly--she has webbed fingers and an extra digit on her left ha...

Read more

Sela's Timeline

  • April 21, 2016

    Sela was submitted by Hannah Callas, Stakeholder Relations Officer at Children's Surgical Centre, our medical partner in Cambodia.

  • April 21, 2016

    Sela received treatment at Kien Khleang National Rehabilitation Centre.

  • May 02, 2016

    Sela's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • May 02, 2016

    Sela's treatment was fully funded.

  • June 21, 2016

    Sela's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 22 donors

Funded by 22 donors

Syndactyly Repair
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Patients have webbed fingers or toes, or several of their digits are completely fused together.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Patients often have difficulty grasping objects and using their hands or feet. In addition, many patients feel uncomfortable about the appearance of the condition.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

This condition may be caused by increased exposure to chemicals. According to local doctors, the proportion of babies born with disabilities and congenital deformities in eastern Cambodia (bordering Vietnam) is more than 50 times higher than in other parts of the country. Though the reason for the higher rate has not officially been confirmed, it is generally thought to result from the use of Agent Orange, a dioxin-containing defoliant, by U.S. forces during the Vietnam War.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

A z-plasty surgery is performed to separate the skin between the digits. Because the circumference of the conjoined fingers is smaller than the circumference of the separated fingers, new skin is brought into the area by a skin graft.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

Patients will experience improved mobility and function, reduced pain, and increased self-esteem and confidence.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

The treatment usually results in a good outcome. If a patient’s condition is particularly difficult, surgeries are scheduled during visits by hand specialists from Singapore and Hong Kong. In addition, our medical partner belongs to a hand and upper limb-specific telemedicine group. A network of specialists from around the world can offer opinions about difficult cases.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

The healthcare system in Cambodia is underdeveloped. Cambodians rely on government hospitals, which are often ill-equipped and lack capacity and expertise for standard surgical care.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There is no alternative.

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