What is Dupuytren’s disease?

Dupuytren’s disease is a condition where scar-like tissue forms just beneath the skin of your fingers and the palm of your hand. Over time, this fibrous tissue can contract and force one or more fingers to curl up into the palm. This is known as Dupuytren’s contracture (see figure 1).

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should be able to make better use of your hand and straighten the affected fingers more.

Are there any alternatives to a Dupuytren's fasciectomy?

Your surgeon may be able to perform a needle aponeurotomy. However, there is a higher risk of the contracture coming back.

Botox or collagenase can be injected into the bands of tissue but this is a new treatment and it is unclear how effective it is.

The most effective treatment is surgery.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The surgery can range from simply cutting a fibrous band in the palm of your hand to removing all of the affected skin and replacing it with skin grafts.

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Scarring

2 Specific complications

  • Injury to an artery in your finger
  • Incomplete correction of the Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Return of Dupuytren's disease
  • Stiffness of your finger joints
  • Numbness
  • Wound-healing problems
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your hand (complex regional pain syndrome)

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

It can take some time for your hand to settle.

Summary

A Dupuytren’s fasciectomy should straighten your fingers and give you a worthwhile improvement in the function of your hand.

Acknowledgements

Author: Prof Tim Davis ChM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com


This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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