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news News Thursday, May 28, 2020 Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:01 AM - Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:01 AM

Hope for Mateo

Toddler from Dominican Republic receives care for rare hand condition

Hope for Mateo

The team of physicians at Shriners Hospitals for Children - St. Louis sees a variety of upper extremity differences. One of the rarest is a condition called "mirror hands," which can present itself in a variety of ways but usually children are born with extra fingers and an extra ulna bone. This condition is so rare that there are only a few cases known worldwide. Two-year-old Mateo was born with mirror hands and had a duplication of the pinky side of his hand and forearm. His thumb side of his hand did not develop properly and he had seven fingers with no thumb.

Mateo’s parents live in the Dominican Republic. They searched the internet for a doctor who could help their child. They found renowned upper extremity surgeon Charles Goldfarb, M.D., who has treated several other children with this same condition. With the help of the World Pediatric Project, an organization that helps international patients travel to the United States for treatment, Mateo and his parents came to St. Louis for evaluation and surgery.

Mateo's first surgery helped restore his elbow motion, as he does not have a normal elbow joint. Once he recovered from this surgery, he underwent surgery once again to remove his extra digits, create a thumb and bring his wrist into a straighter position. Having these surgeries "...will help him function better as he moves forward," said Dr. Goldfarb. The ultimate goal was to create the most functional and normal appearing hand and arm possible.

Today, Mateo is fully recovered from his surgeries and is just like every other high-energy 2-year-old! He will have yearly check-up appointments with Dr. Goldfarb and his team each year, but is not expected to have any more major surgeries.