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Treating Dupuytren’s Contracture

The only way to treat Dupuytren’s contracture is surgery. It’s not a cure. Symptoms can recur in a few years. But surgery helps many patients regain a better range of finger motion. Your doctor may suggest surgery if use of your hand is sharply limited.

Image of hand with some of the palmar fascia removed to rid hand of nodules or bands. Inset shows a zigzag incision.

Your Surgery Experience

Surgery removes some of the palmar fascia. This can take a few hours. You may be awake, but drowsy, during surgery. Or, you may have general anesthesia (where you “sleep”). Your doctor may use a zigzag-shaped incision to reach the fascia. A zigzag allows better healing and finger motion. When surgery is complete, part of your incision may be left open to help drainage. As you heal, it will close on its own. A thick bandage or cast will be placed over your hand and forearm. You most likely will go home the day of surgery.

Risks and Complications

Your doctor will give you details about the possible risks and complications of surgery. These may include:

  • Stiff fingers

  • Thick scarring on palm

  • Numbness in hand

  • Swelling around finger joints

  • Impaired blood flow to hand

  • Long-term pain in hand (rare)

Man elevating hand in cast
After surgery, elevate your hand and move your fingers as instructed by your doctor.

After Surgery

In the first few days, keep your hand elevated to reduce swelling. And take any pain pills your doctor prescribed. If you’re asked to use ice, follow your doctor’s advice. In about a week, your stitches will be removed. You then may need to wear a splint. Soon, you’ll start hand therapy and exercises that can help you heal.

Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 8/28/2013
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