Dupuytren’s Disease

Dupuytren’s Disease, also known as Dupuytren’s contracture, is a hand deformity that usually develops over years. The condition affects a layer of tissue that lies under the skin of your palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin, eventually creating a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Disease may include:

  • Thickening of the skin on the palm
  • Formation of nodules or lumps in the palm
  • Difficulty in straightening one or more fingers
  • Fingers pulled towards the palm

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of Dupuytren’s Disease can be done through:

  • Physical Examination: Doctors can usually diagnose Dupuytren’s disease by feeling your hands and looking for telltale signs such as lumps and tightened skin.
  • Flexibility Test: To determine the stage of the disease, you may be asked to place the palm of your hand flat on a tabletop or other flat surface. If you can’t, it’s usually because of Dupuytren’s contracture.

Prevention

There is no sure way to prevent Dupuytren’s Disease as it is associated with genetic predisposition. However, avoiding hand injuries and heavy long-term alcohol use may reduce risk.

Treatment

Treatment for Dupuytren’s disease depends on the severity of the condition.

  • Needle Aponeurotomy: This less invasive procedure can be done in a doctor’s office. The thickened cord in your palm is weakened with a needle then pulled apart to provide relief.
  • Enzyme Injections: An enzyme (collagenase clostridium histolyticum) can be injected to soften and weaken the contracted cord. Your doctor will then manipulate your hand to break the cord and straighten your fingers.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical removal of the tissue in your palm might be necessary. Surgery has the most lasting results, but it also has a longer recovery period.
  • Radiation Therapy: Low energy radiation treatments can be used in early stages to slow the progression of the disease, although it’s unclear how effective this approach is.

These treatments can relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with Dupuytren’s Disease.