Dupuytren's disease or Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that results in abnormal thickening of the tissues and skin in the palm of the hand. The onset is usually later in life and more common in men. Though the condition may be hereditary, the exact cause of Dupuytren's disease is unknown.
The thickening of the palmar tissue can result in the development of cords, which can cause the fingers to bend in towards the palm. The ring and little fingers are most commonly involved. In some cases, the disease is very mild and doesn't progress much. In other cases, severe contractures can develop where the fingers cannot be straightened or opened.
Dupuytren's contracture normally progresses gradually over many years. The skin of the palm or hand may appear to be puckered or dimpled, and a firm lump may also form on the palm. The lump can also be sensitive to touch. To diagnose Dupuytren's contracture, Dr Duncan McGuire will conduct a comprehensive examination where he will assess whether a contracture is present and how severe it is. Over time the finger joints can also become stiff, which contribute further to the contracture. Dr McGuire will discuss treatment options with you and determine whether surgery is indicated or not.
There is, unfortunately, no permanent cure for Dupuytren's Disease as this is a genetic disease, but surgery can make the contractures much better. Treatment for Dupuytren's contracture helps slow the disease and ease symptoms experienced. Fortunately, most cases are mild and need no treatment. Surgery is indicated if the contractures of the fingers interfere with function. Surgery can be done through an open procedure to remove the thickened tissue and cords, or through a minimally invasive approach using a needle to cut the cords. A skin graft can be used to cover the open wound in severe cases where skin needs to be excised as well. The treatment of choice depends on multiple factors, which Dr McGuire will discuss with you.