Surgical management of the hand in Freeman-Sheldon syndrome

Ann Plast Surg. 2003 May;50(5):456-62; discussion 463-70. doi: 10.1097/01.SAP.0000044149.76364.D4.


Freeman-Sheldon syndrome is a rare form of distal arthrogryposis characterized by craniofacial anomalies, a rheumatoid-appearing hand, and pedal deformities. The hand deformities include ulnar deviation of the fingers, camptodactyly, first web space contracture, and hypoplasia of the thumb. Because of clinical variability and rarity, there is no standard management protocol. The authors have developed a systematic method of management of the hand in Freeman-Sheldon syndrome using principles commonly applied to other complex hand problems. In 17 years, the authors have evaluated nine patients. Of 18 hands evaluated, the authors have operated on 15. Good results were achieved in five hands and fair results in 10. There were no cases of useless hands. The authors have been most pleased with the results after crossed intrinsic transfers, centralization of extensor tendons, and intrinsic release of the thumb. Although physical deformities remain, functional adaptation is generally good.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / surgery
  • Arthrogryposis / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contracture / surgery
  • Female
  • Hand Deformities, Congenital / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome