Dupuytren’s Disease

Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening and shrinking of the tissue beneath the skin of the palm. This condition is thought to be hereditary and is more frequent in people of Northern European ancestry. It can cause lumps or dimples in the skin surface, limit movement of the fingers and draw the fingers toward the palm in a permanently contracted position. Dupuytren’s disease is usually painless, but in severe cases can make everyday activities difficult or impossible.

Hand with Dupuytren's
Hand with Dupuytren’s Disease

Hand with Dupuytren’s Disease

Treatment

We diagnose this disease following a physical examination and discussion of medical history. Usually Dupuytren’s is evident as a small lump in the palm located near the base of the ring and little fingers. Over time a thick, fibrous cord may become noticeable between the palm and the fingers. Most patients seek medical treatment for Dupuytren’s disease when the palm can no longer lay flat on an even surface.

While there is no known cure, surgery is typically the most effective treatment option. The goal of surgery is to release the contracture and restore the use of the fingers and hand. Even with successful surgery, thickened palm tissue may redevelop and require additional procedures.

A newer technique to correct Dupuytren’s – an office procedure called “needle aponeurotomy” — has recently gained popularity in the US. In this minimally–invasive procedure done under local anesthesia, we weaken the cord at multiple locations with the tip of a small needle. Once the cord is sufficiently weakened it is “popped,” resulting in a straighter digit. No stitches are necessary. While not everyone with Dupuytren’s disease is a candidate for needle aponeurotomy, we can generally make a determination based on the initial office visit. Complications of this procedure include nerve injury, recurrence of the contracture and skin tears.