Ayelet, a 14-year-old teenager, used to hold her right hand behind her back or cradled within her left because she was born with two middle fingers fused solidly together; now, however, her fingers appear perfectly normal, thanks to successful surgery performed by Prof. Mordechai Sela, head of the Department of Maxillofacial Rehabilitation at the Hadassah Medical Center.
Ayelet’s congenital abnormality, called syndactyly, is notoriously difficult to correct. Ayelet endured several unsuccessful surgeries in a local hospital before she was referred to Hadassah. Further treatment, however, wasn’t covered by the family’s health insurance. “I’m a single parent of three children,” Ayelet’s mother related. “I knew how much the way her fingers looked bothered her, but there was nothing I could do.”
Ayelet’s teachers, classmates, and her classmates’ parents started a collection to fund Ayelet’s treatment. Hadassah matched the funds and Ayelet was brought to Hadassah for the surgery.
“We built her two new fingers out of silicone, and implanted them under her skin,” explains Prof. Sela. Now Ayelet’s fingers both look and function normally.