Dupuytren’s contracture

Dupuytren’s contracture, which is more common in men than in women, is caused by thickening and tightening of fibrous tissue under the skin of the palm and the fingers.

Causes

Although no one is certain what causes it, Dupuytren’s contracture often runs in families, is more likely to affect you as you get older, and is more common in Northern Europeans. It has also been linked to drinking alcohol as well as to certain medical conditions including seizures and diabetes.

Symptoms

Symptoms, which develop over time, include:

  • Small, painful lumps (nodules) developing on the palm of the hand. These generally become less painful after a while
  • The nodules can become thicker, forming bands of tissue under the skin
  • As the condition progresses, the fingers curl towards the palm. This may affect just the ring and little fingers or all the fingers, making them difficult to straighten; it may also be difficult to hold large objects or put your hand in your pocket

Diagnosis

After a discussion of your symptoms, your specialist will measure the amount of movement you have and record where the nodules are. These measurements are a benchmark so that, over time, any changes can be accurately recorded.

Treatment

No treatment: in many cases, Dupuytren’s contracture develops slowly over many years and may not cause any problems that need to be treated.

Non-operative treatment: you may be offered a steroid injection of Xiapex (Collagenase) to dissolve the abnormal cord of tissue. This will usually allow an improvement in the contracture.

Surgery: if the disease is progressing and affecting your everyday life, you may be offered surgery to divide or remove the thick bands and improve your range of finger movement. In recurrent disease, removal of the skin and replacement with a skin graft is sometimes necessary.

Important: This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.

 

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