Fingers for Ryan


With grateful hearts, we give all the Glory to Jesus for His mercy and grace in our lives. We pray this web site will give you a better understanding of the nature of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by showing a small example His provision.
In an attempt to explain the process of distraction augmentation to all our friends, family, and any others who may be interested, we encourage you to read on and come back often to visit often for continued updates. – David Fuchs.

Latest Updates


Ryan on TV:

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The Story

David & Sarah Fuchs ~ 2006

baby_womb2The entire process of conception to growth of a child to birth of a child is truly a miracle. God is so good to give us the responsibility of caring for His creation for a while here on earth and we pray that He has chosen Ryan to become one of His children as we raise him to the best of our ability to know the Lord. God chose to give Ryan a perfect right hand, but on his left, He didn’t allow the bones in his fingers to grow. We don’t always know why he chooses to place trials in our lives, but take comfort in knowing His plan is perfect and these times only show us how much we are fully dependent on the Lord for even life itself. We rejoice in the birth of our son and will trust Christ in all we do to guide us in raising him in the admonition of the Lord.

Ryan was born with a constrictive band syndrome which in some way hampered the growth of his left hand. It is a rare, non-hereditary, congenital hand anomaly. Specifically, Ryan has a short thumb, an even shorter “pinky” and three other “nubbins” where his fingers didn’t grow. It appears Ryan will have a limited pinch grasp with a short thumb against the palm of his hand or his “pinky,” but be fairly limited in most grasping activities with that hand. He is the cutest little guy you will ever meet and we praise God for giving us the responsibility of dealing with this condition. It has been a great trial in our life as the Lord chose to give us Ryan with his hand anomaly, but we already can see how He is teaching us so many lessons just by trusting in His plan & provision. Many opinions exist on treatments (if any) of the condition and we want to gather as much information about the condition and talk to other children and parents who have been blessed with this special need.

It is very comforting to know that God has Ryan’s future fully in his perfect hands and knows just how this difference will be a tool to advance His kingdom. Already in the two short months Ryan has been with us, God has taught us so much about how we are reliant on Him for everything. Just think about the amazing creation of a little boy and all the complicated processes to go from conception to birth. It will give you a greater appreciation of the greatness of our Lord, Jesus.

Most doctors agree that with one fully functional hand, children get along great and are very good at adapting to using their other helper hand with whatever it’s limited function. There is no doubt that they will be hampered in some activities, but by and large children can do most things they set out to accomplish. Isn’t it amazing the way God designed our minds and bodies to be able to accommodate so many differences!

We have talked with parents who have children with some type of similar band syndrome of a hand. Very encouraging are most all of the conversations as we understand their children do very well. Some chose to leave the hand just as they were born, some have prostheses made, and other surgical correction. Those in the first two groups almost all agree that children do not wear prosthetic hands because they cover up all of there sensory ability on that hand and just learn to get along with what they have been given. (Some do use them however, later in life when cosmetics are more of a concern or for special occasions.) A few pediatric hand surgeons in the world offer a treatment for given children more function by creating new “digits” by bone transplant and lengthening of that bone. It is called Distraction Augmentation Manoplasty.

With much prayer and investigation, we feel the Lord has opened a door for possible treatment of Ryan’s hand with this surgery. In an effort to give him as much function & gripping ability on his left hand as possible we are considering it as a possibility. It is not in any way a cosmetic surgery, but does give children who have experienced the treatment much greater ability to use the hand. Some of the children we have talked with who had distraction augmentation manoplasty done on their hands now are 10 and 15 years old. They tell us they are able to play volleyball, hold playing cards in that hand, use a baseball glove, and hold other object that would not be possible without any or limited pinching ability.

There are a few examples of how the surgery works on this site as well as pictures of Ryan’s hand so you can get a better idea of what we are talking about. Feel free to e-mail us or contact us in any other way if you have any questions or comments. We would love as much input and questions as we prayerfully consider this option for our little prince, Ryan James.

—-David & Sarah Fuchs ~ 2006

Surgery Sequence

1st Stage: June 5, 2006
-toe bone transplant

2nd Stage: December 11, 2006
-lengthener placement

3rd Stage: February 26, 2007
-lengthener removal and skin grafting

4th Stage: June 11, 2007
-second skin grafting


5th Stage: January 18, 2010
-lengthener placement for 2nd round

6th Stage: Spring 2010
-Possible third skin grafting

7th Stage: Summer 2010
-Possible fourth skin grafting

Download High Resolution

Photos & X-rays

1)Photos – Progression of lengthening
2)X-Rays – before surgery
3)Before/After 1st surgery X-ray and photos
4) Photos – August 2007

After many months of prayer and investigation, Ryan underwent the first of a multi-stage process to “grow fingers” on his left hand.

Preparation for the trip up to Cleveland took some ingenuity as we learned how to fly with a car seat, stroller, diaper bag, purse, 2nd carry on bag, two suitcases, and a baby. Maybe next time we are going to have to leave something home!

We drove to Kansas City and stayed with Sarah’s parents to sleep for the night on Saturday. Then early Sunday morning, Jim and Karen drove us to the airport for our flight at 7:30AM. The only good thing about a flight that early on a Sunday morning is it allowed them enough make it to church! We checked into our Cleveland hotel that afternoon and rested for the next day.

Ryan did great during the entire surgery and declared a true champion afterwards.

To make it simple, surgery involved moving three bones from Ryan’s toes to his hand. It makes very little difference in the toes, (maybe a bit more floppy like the end of your nose on three toes) but will make a great change in the ability to do more with the hand. These three bones will be the foundation on which to “grow” new fingers by distraction augmentation which will take place in about 6 months. That involves going back to these transferred bones, and lengthening them up to 30mm with a device similar to what is used by orthodontists during the braces process to push the jaw apart, called a palatal expander; Dr. Seitz’s process for Ryan’s hand is called distraction augmentation. Then when the bones heal at that length, the fingers will be webbed together. The webbing will then be cut apart and new skin will be grafted from the hip to cover the new fingers!

After surgery, Ryan was a little slow for the rest of the day, but wouldn’t you know it, he was back to good ‘ol Ryan again the very next day! He did great on the both the flights to and from Cleveland except for when he felt it had been a little too long between naps. Then the other passengers wished they hadn’t sat next to us. (Actually, we loved it when Ryan was fussy during boarding because it was a free ticket for an extra seat when no one wanted to sit next to us! Ha!)

I think the most amazing part is how God provided such an amazing recovery for little Ryan. Like I said earlier, he was back to his normal self the very next day and even that same evening as his surgery enjoyed taking a walk outside in his stroller!

1st Surgery :

~Sunday,. June 4th~

We flew to Cleveland from Kansas City and arrived there around mid-day. We drove to the city of Beachwood, where Ryan would have his surgery the next day. After checking in at our hotel, we drove around and became more familiar with the area and where the Cleveland clinic was located from our hotel. Preparing for the next day, we prayed for strength for little Ryan and that God would give us strength to take care of our wonderful boy.

~Monday, June 5th~

5:30 a.m.
After being awakened by our alarm, we quickly gathered all our belongings together, grabbed a few bites to eat, and were ready to leave for the Cleveland Clinic.

6:45 a.m.
We arrived at the Cleveland Clinic and after what took a while to find the surgery center, we made our way into the reception area. After about forty-five minutes we were finally called back. This whole time Ryan was unable to eat or drink anything since 12:45 midnight and he did great! He was his normal smiley self

and was entertained with the help of some kid’s books and his favorite cow stuffed animal, “Mr. Moo Moo”.

7:30 a.m.
The nurse came in to check Ryan’s vitals and had us change him into a hospital gown.

8:00 a.m.
Ryan was taken into the surgery room and administered the general anesthesia. David watched as they slipped the gas mask over his face. Within fifteen seconds Ryan was completely out. After that, an IV was placed in his right arm that provided the anesthesia for surgery.

8:00–11:30 a.m.
We waited patiently in the waiting room and walked around the building until Dr. Seitz came out to meet us. He reported that the surgery went very well, explained what was done, how to take care of him, and showed us the x-rays of where the toe bones and pins were placed in Ryan’s hand.

11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
It took about an hour and a half for Ryan to wake up & open his eyes from the effects of general anesthesia. He took a bottle during this time, but his eyes were still closed. We kept calling out his name and then finally he slowly opened his eyes.


1:30-3:00 p.m.
We left the Cleveland Clinic and headed back to our hotel. We were all exhausted and took a long siesta and afterward, woke up refreshed.

4:00 p.m.
Even though Ryan was still groggy, he managed to show us a little smile! We took him for a walk and then drove around Beachwood before putting him down to bed.

x-ray~Tuesday, June 6th~

Ryan woke up and was almost his normal self! All we had to give him to control any pain was some regular Tylenol and he did great! We headed to the Cleveland Airport to fly home.

julie & karen

All the family couldn’t wait to see the little man and all met us at the first possible stop. Julie and Brandon (aunt and uncle) picked us up from the air port and went to lunch with us, Sarah’s parents met us at their house in KC and David’s family brought over dinner when we arrived in Springfield.


~Friday, June 9th~

Ryan is a wild man and started to kick off his foot dressings. These are just Ace bandages with lots of padding and held together with athletic tape.

~Saturday. June 10th~

We had to unwrap his left foot “cast” and re wrap it with padding & Ace bandages. He was supposed to keep these on for ten days, but you know how little boys are! The stitches and incisions were healing wonderfully and his toes look almost the same as before!

The Log

(Newest at the Top)

January 18th ~ 5nd Stage of Surgery, 2nd round – Lengthener Placement

January 7th ~ Consultation, X-rays, and evaluation of hand for scheduled 5th stage of surgery.


Ryan used his hand for growing up, you would never know the difference – it didn’t slow him down one bit.


November 26 ~ KY3 TV in Springfield features Ryan

November ~ As can be seen to the left, Ryan uses his hand everyday. From picking up acorns in the yard to building things with his Duplo blocks, he uses his “new fingers” all the time. We pray that God will give him many opportunities to use his experiences to share the splendor of the Lord.

October 13 ~ Ryan turns 2 years old. We celebrate his life and Give God all the glory for creating such an amazing young boy.

September 21 ~ Ryan & Dr. Seitz appears in “People Magazine”
September 6 ~ Check-up with Dr. Seitz. He found Ryan was really doing well with his fingers with great mobility and ability to use his new fingers.

July ~ Ryan & Dr. Seitz appear on TV on a local station and then it is picked up by stations all over the country and even overseas!

July 5th ~ Removal of bandages and four new fingers exposed!

June 11 ~ 4th surgery to graft skin between the other side of the fingers

February 26 ~ 3rd surgery to remove lengtheners, remove webbing between some fingers and graft skin to cover those fingers.

January 13 ~ 26mm of lengthening stops and the bone is allowed to heal for a few months


December 18 ~ Lengthening begins

December 11 ~ 2nd Surgery to place lengtheners in bone.

September ~ Ryan can grab Cheerios with his new hand!

July ~ All the casts come off

June 6 ~ Ryan is back to his usual happy self!

June 5 ~ One bone from three different toes are taken and placed in the hand to form the basis for growing fingers over the next year. No visible changes to the toes occur, just makes three of them a slightly more floppy…like the end of your nose!

May ~ The final pre-operative x-ray is taken to be evaluated before the big day.

January ~ After much prayer & thought, the Lord has led us to the decision of surgery for Ryan. Dr. William Seitz will be his doctor. Read all about it below and to the left!


Dec 21 ~ Lots of prayer and contemplation has filled lots of time as we find out more information and talk to other people who have had the surgery from Dr. Seitz.

Dec 11-13 ~ Our visit to Dr. Seitz was very informative and educational. He has treated many other children with congenital hand abnormalities and one of the few doctors in the world who “grows fingers.”

Oct 31 ~ Visit to the Geneticist in St. Louis reveals no genetic problems after chromosome analysis (gel electrophoreses for you biology geeks out there :p)

Oct 14-30 ~ Much prayer with our Lord in helping us manage the situation he gave us.

Oct 13 ~ Ryan is born with a thumb and partial pinky on his left hand. Although all other right hand fingers and both sets of toes are normal, no other fingers are present on the left hand. The doctors don’t know if it might be from what they call constrictive band syndrome, or other possibilities, but what we do know is that God calls it wonderful and everything is going according to His great plan. We thank Jesus for the opportunity to raise such a great child as Ryan James.

After Surgery



Hand before lengtheners placed. Bones were already transferred in 1st surgery as you can see by the scars left.

Ryan happy to play in the wagon as we wait for surgery to begin.

Post surgery recovery. As the anesthetic wears off, Ryan doesn’t feel too good, but this only lasts a few hours. By the next day he is his normal self with very little apparent pain.
The same night, Ryan is back to playing with trains
Unable to use his hand to crawl with lengtheners on, Ryan learns to walk in about 2 days

1 week after surgery, the bandage is removed and lengthening begins
Exhausted, Ryan sleeps on the drive home from Cleveland
We covered the hand for every meal and for lots of activities to keep it clean
Turning the screws to lengthen
Day 12 of lengthening
Day 23 of lengthening. The skin really stretches and dries out during this time, because of all the lengthening and cleaning to prevent infection. (No moisturizers allowed as they may cause infection)
Lengthening done, everything healed, re-moisturized and ready for the surgery to remove the lengtheners. 23mm of length!

One response to “Fingers for Ryan”

  1. Dear couple,
    My name is Aline and I’m from Brazil. Sorry about my poor english. 🙂
    About a month ago, me and my husband were blessed with a special boy, Who had both hand fingers and right foot toes injuried by Amniotic bands. At first I was scaried, but now the whole family can feel the joy of having Benjamin with us. This page of you have giving us hope, and trust that God blessed us with a special child, and this will be all for His Glory. I humbly ask for your help to know where could we have information about hospitals and doctors who make this kind of lenghtening surgery. Since now, I thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. God bless you all.

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