Dupytren’s Disease

Dupuytren’s disease is a common condition that affects the palm of the hand and fingers.  It is charcterised by thickened tissue that causes one or more of the fingers to bend into the hand.  Nodules can be felt in the palm with cords extending down the affected fingers.  It is more common in men than women, presenting in middle age and will affect the little and ring fingers the most.  It is not a cancerous condition.

What are the causes?

It is not clear what causes Dupuytren’s disease but it is more common in people from Northern Europe.  There is a strong family link as well.

What are the symptoms?

Most patients will notice a thickening or hard lump in their palm.  This occasionally will be tender but often causes few problems.  Dupuytren’s disease typically progresses to cause one or more of the fingers to start bending into the palm, though this is variable in timeframe and may take many years.  The finger may interfere with function as you are unable to straighten it fully.

How is it diagnosed?

Your surgeon can usually make the diagnosis by asking about the symptoms you have and examining your hand.  

How is it treated?

There is no cure for Dupuytren’s disease but it can be successfully treated in a number of ways.  Treatment is usually reserved for those whose fingers cannot fully straighten.  Dupuytren’s disease can be treated by needle fasciotomy, Dupuytren’s fasciectomy or using an injection of an enzyme called Collagenase depending on the position and severity.