Dupuytren's Disease Surgery
Surgical Correction of Finger Clawing (Dupuytren's Contracture)
Dupuytren’s Disease is characterised by a progressive thickening of the tissues within the palm of the hand. This thickening results in a characteristic deformity of finger contractions, preventing the affected person from straightening out their fingers.
Most cases of Dupuytren’s Disease do not have a clear cause. There is evidence that genes play an important role, as Dupuytren’s Disease can be seen to run in families. Underlying health conditions, including diabetes, alcohol excess, smoking and epilepsy, increase your risk of developing Dupuytren’s disease.
The major symptom of Dupuytren’s Disease is the progressive bending of the fingers, which may ultimately impair normal functioning of the hand.
Dupuytren’s Disease is diagnosed from clinical history and examination by your doctor. No further investigations are required.
Dupuytren’s Disease can be readily treated with surgery. Your surgeon may recommend one of a few types of surgery – “needle fasciotomy”, “open fasciotomy” or “open fasciectomy”. The type of surgery offered will depend on individual factors. The aim of the operation is to cut or remove excess tissue built up within the palm, allowing the fingers to straighten. These operations are typically performed under local anaesthetic, and depending on the type of operation selected, patients will be left with small scars on the palm of the hand. As with any operation, there is a small risk of postoperative pain, bleeding, infection and damage to surrounding structures, including blood vessels and nerves. There is also a risk that the disease recurs after surgery. Mr Anton Fries, Consultant in reconstructive hand and plastic surgery, would be delighted to discuss management of your Dupuytren’s Disease during a private consultation.
Occasionally, your doctor may recommend collagenase injection therapy instead of surgical treatment. This therapy aims to reduce the amount of thickened tissue within the palm, slowing hand deformity.
Some cases of Dupuytren’s Disease may not require active medical treatment, particularly if symptoms are mild. However, it is often the case that hand deformity worsens over time, which may mean surgical treatment is eventually required.