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Dupuytren's Disease

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Dupuytren's Contracture: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Surgery for Dupuytren's Contracture

If the condition continues to get worse despite medications and your hand function is severely limited, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Traditional surgery for Dupuytren's contracture involves cutting or removing the thick bands of tissue in the palm of the hand to help restore proper finger motion.

All surgery comes with risks. Complications of Dupuytren's contracture surgery are rare but may include:

  • Infection
  • Injury to the nerves and blood vessels in the hand
  • Permanent stiffness of the fingers

You will have some hand swelling and discomfort after the procedure. Raising your hand above your heart level and flexing your fingers can help relieve swelling, stiffness, and pain and speed up your recovery. Recovery can take several months.

Most patients can move their fingers better after traditional Dupuytren's contracture surgery. However, the condition returns in about one in five people who have had this surgery.

A less invasive procedure, called needle aponeurotomy, is an alternative to traditional surgery for Dupuytren's contracture. Instead of an open incision, it uses the sharp end of a needle to cut the thick bands under the skin, which may help you recover faster. However, it is not as effective in treating the more severe cases. As a whole there is less risk of complications, but there is a risk of nerve, blood vessel, or tendon damage. Needle aponeurotomy is even more effective when used in combination with corticosteroid injections. A specialized hand surgeon must perform this procedure. Ask your doctor what type of surgery is best for you.

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy after surgery.

When to See a Doctor

Dupuytren's contracture is not a dangerous condition, but it can be disabling if it becomes severe.

Call your doctor for an appointment if:

  • You have one or more lumps in your palm, whether or not it is painful.
  • You have difficulty straightening your fingers.
  • You have difficulty grasping objects.
  • You cannot place your hand flat on a table or place your hand in your pocket.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on December 27, 2013
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