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How Dupuytren’s Contracture Progresses

Treatment for Progressive Dupuytren's Contracture

Surgical treatment can be effective when Dupuytren's progresses. But is only recommended when the contracture is severe and causes significant activity limitations. That's because surgery to divide or remove the thickened bands carries risks, says Eaton. And recovery can take two or three months. Some of the complications of traditional open surgery include slow healing, nerve injury, and permanent stiffness.

"Before surgery, someone may not be able to straighten a finger," says Eaton. "Then after the dust settles, they may not be able to bend the finger all the way."

The disease can come back, so surgery is not a cure. Over time, many have a recurrence, says Eaton. The younger you are when you first develop Dupuytren's, the more likely you will need surgery, and the greater your chance for recurrence.

Needle Release and Enzyme Procedures

Other less invasive techniques may be useful for Dupuytren's contracture. These procedures include the use of small incisions, needle release, and enzyme injections. According to Eaton, "they don't make big wounds in the skin, so they don't set off the biology of Dupuytren's." Recovery is quick and complications are less frequent. These procedures, however, are only recommended for certain patients with Dupuytren’s.

In the end, even though treatment may help reduce the stiffness and deformity at various stages of Dupuytren’s disease, there is still no cure for this disease.

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Reviewed on August 08, 2010

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