Dupuytren’s Contracture is a medical condition that can appear in the fingers and palm of the hand, and it causes them to become tight and the fingers to bend. This health issue is also known as Contracted Fingers. It is considered that it has its origins back to the Vikings. It is a hereditary disease because it runs in families. In some instances, it is triggered by an operation or small injury.
Duputyren’s surgery is helpful if you find you cannot fully straighten one or more of your fingers due to thickening or tightness in the palms or fingers. Having contracted fingers can have a large impact on your daily life, and make simple tasks quite difficult. When the condition has been longstanding and tightness is pronounced, it becomes more difficult to treat. Therefore, we advise you to have a medical consultation as soon as you notice you are unable to place your hand flat. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from Dupuytren’s surgery.
Am I suitable for Dupuytren’s surgery?
If the patients notice that they cannot place their hand flat on the table, then they should make an appointment with a specialist. Depending on the severity of their condition, they would have access to different treatment options. The specialist will consider the circumstances of the patient when they would decide the treatment.
What happens during the consultation and procedure?
Prior to having any surgery, you will have a consultation. This will allow you to meet the surgeon and ask any questions you have regarding the procedure. You will be able to find out what will happen before and after the procedure, and how you will be able to manage pain. The surgeon will be able to assess your individual circumstances and decide on the best way to treat you and what options are suitable.
The surgery is considered a day case. You will be given a local anaesthetic, and you will be able to leave the same day as soon as the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.
The surgery involves removing the abnormal thickened tissue. There are numerous techniques which the surgeon can use to remove this. One option involves removing the diseased fascia under the skin. The more complex option involves also removing the skin, with a skin graft being placed over the skin. Your surgeon will be able to tell you what option is more suitable for you during your consultation.
What is the recovery period like?
After the surgery, you may need to wear a splint, particularly at night.
You will notice scarring after the procedure. This will be more prominent after the procedure and will begin to settle over time. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to care for the scarring. You will have to undertake hand therapy, which will include specific exercises. This will help to ensure you have a good recovery period and the scarring is well looked after. If the hand therapy is not undertaken, you may find the healing scar tissue will cause the fingers to contract again, so you may end up with the same symptoms as before the surgery. To avoid this, it is best to follow the appropriate hand exercises.
Are there any risks?
As this is a surgical procedure, there are potential rare risks involved. These complications include bleeding, pain, scarring and infection of the surgical wound. Specific risks of this procedure are:
- Stiffness of the finger joints
- Wound healing issues
- Injuries to the small arteries of the fingers
- Incomplete correction of the contracture
- Pain syndrome that can lead to loss of the use of the hand