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November 5, 2008

Bond Girl Draws Attention to Babies Born with Extra Fingers or Toes

Star in New James Bond Movie Had Polydactyly; Congenital Condition Affects 1 in 1,000 Newborns

MAYWOOD -- One of the Bond Girls in the new James Bond movie is drawing attention to a relatively common congenital condition called polydactyly -- extra fingers or toes.

Gemma Arterton, who plays Agent Fields in "Quantum of Solace," opening Nov. 14, was born with six digits on each hand. The extra fingers were removed during childhood.

Polydactyly takes several forms, said hand surgeon Dr. Terry Light of Loyola University Medical Center. Extra digits can be located next to the thumb, next to the little finger or in the middle of the hand. The digits typically are smaller and abnormally developed. Some babies have two thumbs on each hand, while other babies have seven or eight fingers and no thumb.

Light has operated on hundreds of polydactyly patients. He is chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

In the easiest cases, the extra digit is soft, floppy tissue with no bone. The pediatrician or hand surgeon ties a suture around the base and the digit falls off after a few days. This is how Bond Girl Arterton's polydactyly was treated. "It's my little oddity that I'm really proud of," Arterton told Esquire magazine. "It makes me different."

More complex cases involve a digit that has split into two fingers or two thumbs, neither of which is normal. A split thumb, for example, has a Y shape. The surgeon combines parts of both branches to create one thumb. Light recently performed this procedure on a baby named Marina Styrczula-Di Tullio of Bensenville, Il.

Light removed Marina's extra thumb and rebuilt the remaining digit. Maria's new, single-digit thumb is a bit shorter than a normal thumb, and the tip might not be as flexible. But it otherwise looks pretty normal, her mother said, adding, "We expect that Marina will have very good use of her thumb."

The most complicated cases involve hands with seven fingers and no thumb. The surgeon removes two of the extra fingers. Another finger is moved to where the thumb should be. The surgeon fashions this digit into a thumb, by shortening it and rotating it to face the fingers, Light said.

Polydactyly occurs in at least 1 in 1,000 newborns, making it one of the most common congenital hand conditions. About 40 percent to 50 percent of cases have a genetic cause. For example, former Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Antonio "Six Fingers" Alfonseca, who had six digits on each hand and foot, said his grandfather also had polydactyly. The extra finger did not affect Alfonseca's pitching because it did not touch the ball.


Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and 25 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 570-licensed bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Health & Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 250-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Health & Fitness Center and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.

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