DO I NEED DUPUYTREN'S SURGERY?
Dupuytren's contracture can result in very severe deformity of the fingers making their use difficult or impossible. You need surgery when you feel significantly affected by the deformity. This depends among others on wether your dominant hand is affected. We all use our hands differently so your occupation and hobbies are also important. A fixed flexion of 30 degrees in both affected joints causes significant disability for most people. The decision to undergo surgery should be considered carefully as the disease may recur. A second operation is always technically more challenging and its outcome less predictable.
WHAT IS INVOLVED?
Preparing for your operation
You will have a pre-assessment to identify any correctable abnormalities. We advise that you stop smoking if applicable.
- This operation is done as day case surgery under general or regional anaesthetic. A zig-zag incision is made over the affected finger and the palm. The chords and nodules are removed and the finger straightened. The wound is then closed using dissolvable sutures.
You should be able to go home a few hours after your operation and need to elevate your hand to prevent bleeding and help with pain relief. The bulky dressing can be removed after 48 hours and a new dressing applied. You will see a physiotherapist and may need a splint to keep the fingers straight. It takes 10-12 days for the would to heal. During this time you should not put your hand under water. Once the wound has healed you can resume your normal activities, although you need to be careful with heavy lifting and grasping things firmly for a few more weeks. You will need hand therapy to maintain the correction achieved with surgery. The length of this will depend on the severity of the deformity. Find out more.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
You should be able to straighten your finger and have better use of it overall.
You can return to light duties once the wound has healed, but activities involving heavy lifting and grasping firmly should be avoided for 3-4 weeks.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Infection may only need a course of antibiotics. In severe cases a second operation is necessary to clear it.
Significant bleeding is uncommon. Nerve injury will result in reduced sensation or complete loss of feeling in the affected area temporarily or permanently.
Recurring disease. Dupuytren's contracture may develop in the operated finger or other areas of the palm. This will require further surgery if the resulting deformity is significant.
Chronic pain syndrome. This is a poorly understood condition where chronic pain and increased sensitivity develops in a part of the body affected by an injury or surgery. It takes many months to slowly improve the symptoms and sometimes a degree of permanent disability persists. This can develop in 6-25% of the cases. Learn more.