Classification of congenital anomalies of the hand and upper limb: Development and assessment of a new system

Michael A. Tonkin*, Sarah K. Tolerton, Tom J. Quick, Isaac Harvey, Richard D. Lawson, Nicholas C. Smith, Kerby C. Oberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


The Oberg, Manske, and Tonkin (OMT) classification of congenital hand and upper limb anomalies was proposed in 2010 as a replacement for the Swanson International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand classification system, which has been the accepted system of classification for the international surgical community since 1976. The OMT system separates malformations from deformations and dysplasias. Malformations are subdivided according to the axis of formation and differentiation that is primarily affected and whether the anomalies involve the whole limb or the hand plate. This review outlines the development of classification systems and explores the difficulty of incorporating our current knowledge of limb embryogenesis at a molecular level into current systems. An assessment of the efficacy of the OMT classification demonstrates acceptable inter- and intraobserver reliability. A prospective review of 101 patients confirms that all diagnoses could be classified within the OMT system. Consensus expert opinion allowed classification of those conditions for which there is not a clear understanding of the mechanism of dysmorphology. A refined and expanded OMT classification is presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1853
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • classification
  • Congenital
  • hand
  • upper limb


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