Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that occurs in the hand over several years due to knots of thick tissue forming and, eventually, contracting the fingers into a bent position. This most often affects the pinky and ring finger, and the condition is most common among men of northern European descent. Early stage Dupuytren’s contracture typically involves a slow thickening of the skin on the palm, which may eventually look dimpled. As the condition progresses, you will then notice thick bands or cords of tissue forming. Eventually, these cords can pull the fingers in towards the palm, making it difficult to properly straighten them. To learn more about Dupuytren’s Contracture treatment, visit our Natrona Heights or Monroeville offices.
Some patients with Dupuytren’s contracture will not require treatment because the condition does not cause pain, affect the ability to complete daily tasks, or progress over time. However, those who do see these symptoms typically do require treatment. Dr. Falcon may ask you to complete a “tabletop test,” in which you attempt to flatten your fingers by pressing your palm onto a table. This simple test is a good indicator of Dupuytren’s contracture and the condition’s severity.
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Dupuytren’s contracture can be treated with several techniques, including needling, enzyme injections, or surgery. In a needling procedure, needles are inserted through the skin and used to break apart the cord of tissue causing the condition. This technique can only be used for specific cases because there is a risk of nerve or tendon damage in certain areas of the hand.
Enzyme injections are another less common treatment option. In this procedure, an enzyme under the brand name of Xiaflex is injected into the affected hand to break down and soften the tissue cord. Dr. Falcon may then physically manipulate the hand to straighten the fingers. This option is not widely available and has similar risks as needling.
Finally, surgery is available for advanced cases of Dupuytren’s contracture. This option offers the most permanent results and is best for those who have more severe limitations in function. Following Dupuytren’s contracture surgery, most patients will require physical therapy.
After surgery for Dupuytren’s contracture, you can expect swelling and discomfort, especially numbness or tingling, near the incision. Most patients will require pain medication for up to a week after their procedure. You will likely be ready to return to work a week or two after surgery, unless your job is physically strenuous or requires significant use of your hands (such as lifting heavy objects). After surgery, you will need physical therapy and may need to wear a splint for 6-12 weeks. Dr. Falcon can explain what you can expect during a consultation.
To learn more about Dupuytren’s contracture treatment, schedule a consultation with Dr. Falcon. Call (724) 226-3900 or contact us online. Our Natrona Heights Office is located 20 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh and 15 miles from Fox Chapel.
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