What is Dupuytren’s disease?
Dupuytren’s disease is a benign disease of the connective tissue of the palm of the hand that can occur in families. It leads to a strand-like hardening and shrinkage of the tissue, often gradually over years and occasionally in phases. As a result, the ring finger and the little finger can no longer be stretched. The cause of the disease is still largely unexplained. Targeted therapy or prevention is therefore not possible.If a single strand is easily accessible, it can be severed with a needle using a small puncture. Flat tissue hardening and pronounced stiffening require a good overview in order to protect the adjoining small nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, surgery is performed with the help of magnifying glasses and in a bloodless state. The diseased tissue is gradually loosened and removed using microsurgical technology via a carefully selected access in the area of the strand. Good aftercare is of the utmost importance in order to restore mobility.
How can you prepare for the procedure?
- All your questions about possible complications and alternative treatments should be answered in advance.
- Keep nicotine and alcohol consumption to a minimum!
- Blood-thinning medication (e.g. ASS, Thomapyrin®) must be discontinued at least 10 days before the operation after consultation with your doctor.
- Vitamin preparations (A, E) and food supplements (omega-3 fatty acids, St. John’s wort preparations, etc.) must be discontinued at least 4 weeks before the operation.
- Surgery limits the ability to travel by air. Therefore, do not plan any professional or private air travel during the 6 weeks after the operation!
- Lay down ice cubes or cooling pads at home ready to cool the skin after the operation!
How is the procedure performed?
- The severing of the strands takes place on an outpatient basis, under local anaesthesia and lasts 5 to 10 minutes.
- The removal of the strands is usually carried out on an outpatient basis, but in the case of pronounced findings inpatient, under arm or general anesthesia, and lasts 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the number of affected fingers.
What do you need to keep in mind after the procedure?
- The raising and cooling of the hand in the first 72 hours is very important.
- Complete fist closing and finger stretching exercises should be performed several times per hour. It is very important that all joints are fully moved several times an hour. For a painless exercise, ibuprofen, diclofenac or paracetamol tablets can be taken without a prescription if required. Please always observe the package insert!
- Postoperative clinical check-ups are recommended on the 3rd postoperative day and after 1 and 2 weeks.
- The skin threads are removed after 10 to 14 days.
- Independent scar massage from the 3rd postoperative week with moisturising ointment (e.g. Bepanthen® wound and healing ointment, Linola® fat cream) helps to create inconspicuous soft scars.
Author: Stéphane Stahl, MD, PhD. There are no financial relationships with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries that could have influenced the above text. Any reproduction, even partial, is permitted for personal use only. All texts used on this website are protected by copyright.