Dupuytrens’ Disease

Dupuytren’s disease or Dupuytren’s contracture is a slow developing connective tissue disorder affecting the hand. It causes a thickening and shortening of the tissue beneath the skin on the palm of the hand. Over time this results in one or more of the fingers being pulled toward the palm, preventing straightening of the fingers. Its cause is largely genetic and there are multiple factors identified that increase the risk, such as smoking or diabetes.

The disease often starts as a small lump in the palm of the hand but occasionally under the skin of the fingers. Over time a fibrous cord may develop, pulling one or more fingers toward the palm of the hand. The commonest fingers affected are the ring finger and little finger.

Dupuytren’s contracture isn’t usually painful but it can affect your quality of life. Putting your hand in your pocket, washing your hands or gripping objects can all become difficult due to inability to flatten your hand.

How is Dupuytren’s Contracture diagnosed and treated?

Diagnosis is usually straightforward. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment options could include no treatment at all, non-surgical treatments (such as splinting or collagenase injections) and surgical options. Relevant option will be discussed during your consultation.

This is an article published by Mr. McInerney in the British Medical Journal describing a severe case of Dupuytren’s Contracture and an overview of the condition.