What is it : Dupuytrens contracture is a disease affecting the hands and fingers where normal tissue under the skin thickens which is felt as lumps under the skin on the palm side. As the condition worsens the fingers begin to bend in to the palm.
It is more common in men, and usually occurs when the patient is 50-70 years old. The ring finger is most commonly affected. There is a strong genetic component to Dupuytrens disease, typically affecting patients from northern European descent.
Management : Non operative management is limited, but for mild cases ensuring that range of motion of the fingers is maintained is important. With operative management, a cut is made starting in the palm and extending in to the fingers as necessary. The diseased tissue is removed and the joints are straightened. In severe cases a skin graft may be necessary. Dupuytrens disease has a moderate chance of returning even after surgery.
Post-operative : The wound can take several weeks to heal and settle down. We are keen to get the fingers moving early and a hand therapist may be involved and offer a splint at night to keep the fingers straight.