Dupuytren's Contracture is a benign (non-cancerous) condition, which affects the palm of the hand and fingers. It begins as a thickening of the tissue of the palm in the form of a nodule or lump. It is usually painless and usually affects the ring or small finger.
As the contracture worsens, the abnormal tissue begins to tighten and will gradually bend the affected fingers into the palm. The patient is able to bend their finger, but straightening them may difficult or impossible if the problem is severe. In more severe cases, the contracture may interfere with activities of daily living. Initial treatment consists of observation if the contracture is not significant.
Surgical treatment is indicated when the contracture affects important daily activities. The surgical treatment consists of removal of the diseased tissue, followed by rigorous hand therapy. Surgery is not a permanent cure and the contracture may develop later in previously unaffected areas and occasionally recur in the operated area. Surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patient can return to home same day of surgery.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Dupuytren's Contracture is almost always painless. The primary symptom is the inability to straighten the fingers.
Q: Who gets it?
A: It typically affects middle-aged males of Northern European ancestry, though anyone can get it. Some people may develop a more severe form of Dupuytren's with extensive contractures. Risk factors include those individuals that develop it a young age, have a family history of the condition, diabetes, and have other areas of the body affected (feet).
Q: What causes it?
A: The exact cause of Dupuytren's Contracture is not fully understood, however, there is a clear genetic predisposition.