Dupuytren's contracture

What is it?

Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand condition where your fingers gradually bend towards your palm and cannot be fully straightened. It occurs when abnormal tissue in your palm thickens forming cords that contract and pull your finger towards your palm.

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your hand is working. It is unlikely any additional tests will be needed.

Treatments for Dupuytren’s disease include:

Dupuytren surgery

During surgery, your consultant will remove the affected tissue in your fingers and palm to allow the fingers to relax into their normal position.

The surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. A light bandage or half plaster slab is applied. Often absorbable sutures are used and the wound needs to be kept dry and covered for 10 days. A return to near normality should occur within a few weeks, but may take a month or two to regain full grip.

Collagenase injection

Collagenase enzyme injection weakens the abnormal thickened collagen cord in your fingers and palm. One or two days after the injection, after the tissue has weakened, your consultant will manipulate your fingers under local anaesthetic to snap the cord and allow your fingers to straighten and move freely.

The hand is swollen for a week or so and return to normal function is within one to two weeks.

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