Dupuytren Contracture, also known as Dupuytren’s Disease, is a condition that affects the deeper layer of tissue in the hands and fingers. The fibrous tissue beneath the skin, also known as fascia, can thicken and then tighten. Over time, the fingers can start to pull inward and it can be difficult to open the palms completely.
What is Dupuytren Contracture?
If the fascia in the palms starts to thicken and tighten, it can become impossible to extend one or more of your fingers completely. This is the result of Dupuytren’s disease, a condition where the fascia slowly starts to thicken and the diseased tissue pulls overlying skin back. As this condition progresses, the fascia can become so thick that the finger stays bent permanently.
This condition usually progresses over a period of a few years but symptoms are usually fairly mild in the beginning. In cases where the fingers annoy straighten at all, treatment may be needed to restore proper functioning of the hand and fingers.
The cause of Dupuytren contracture is still unknown but some people are more genetically predisposed to developing this condition than others. Men are more likely to develop this condition and alcohol use, diabetes, or some medical conditions, may be linked to the disease. Common symptoms include: developing small lumps or nodules in the hand; thickening of the cords of tissue under the skin; and the knuckle joints of the fingers no longer bending fully.
Dr. Kilaru will need to perform a comprehensive evaluation to measure the range of motion in the fingers and thumb, locate any nodules and cords, and test for sensation in the thumb and fingers.
Treatment for Dupuytren Contracture
There is no cure for Dupuytren’s disease and some cases need progress beyond small lumps and nodules developing in the palm. Nonsurgical treatment options include steroid injections to manage pain and splinting to prevent the progression of a finger bending. If surgery is needed, Dr. Kilaru can perform a fasciotomy or a subtotal palmar fasciectomy to divide or remove the thick cords causing the contracture.
What to Expect with Dupuytren Contracture
The goal of surgery is to improve the ability to straighten al the fingers and loosen the tissue in the palms. Recovery from surgery can take several weeks and treatment may include physical therapy to improve hand and finger strength. It’s important to note that contracture recurrence is common even after surgery so another procedure may be needed.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of Dupuytren Contracture, get evaluated by a hand surgeon. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kilaru today.