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Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Dupuytren’s Disease

Contact: (0191) 282 5647 - Sister or Nurse in Charge, Ward 47, RVI


IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This information sheet is intended to help you understand the operation and the aftercare that will be necessary to achieve the best result possible.

What is Dupuytren’s Disease?

Dupuytren’s disease is caused by tight bands of tissue in the palm affecting the fingers over a variable period of time. Shortening of these bands causes the fingers to bend down into the palm of the hand. This may take many years to occur. The inconvenience of having bent fingers is what most patients complain of. The operation aims to straighten affected fingers. Unfortunately, this operation can never be thought of as having removed all of the affected tissue and therefore the disease may come back. However, it is hoped that by operating the finger maybe straightened enough to be useful rather than a hindrance. If treatment is not given the problem will remain and the condition may get worse.

Dupuytren's disease can run in families and is more common in the white population.

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

This operation is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic. An information leaflet is available which will provide you with the details you require regarding your anaesthetic (The Trust Information Leaflet ‘You and Your Anaesthetic’).

A tourniquet is applied to the affected arm. It is similar to a blood pressure cuff and is filled with air for the duration of the operation. It helps the surgeon maintain a dry, blood free operation site. The operation time will depend upon the severity of your condition. The incisions in the fingers and palm are closed with stitches and a dressing and bandage applied sometimes a Plaster of Paris splint may be used to hold your fingers in the most comfortable position.

After the operation you will return to the ward.

For most patients the length of stay is overnight after the operation, but occasionally you may be allowed home that same day. Appointments will be given to you to have the stitches removed at 5-10 days and to see a physiotherapist who will teach you exercises and perhaps make a splint to be worn at night to help keep your fingers straight. You will be reviewed in an outpatient clinic in approximately two months. Your wounds should be kept covered by dressings until the stitches are removed. Prior to discharge from hospital, our physiotherapist will see you and following their assessment a series of splints may be required to complete your treatment.

Initially you should refrain from driving. Your Consultant will advise you on this.

What are the risks?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If the wound becomes infected you may require a course of antibiotics.
  • At first your scar may be tender or painful.
  • The wound may not heal properly so you may need regular dressings until it does.
  • Stiff finger joints.
  • The Dupuytren’s disease may return.
  • There may be some damage caused to a blood vessel, tendon or nerve to the fingers.
  • Very rarely there is an alteration in the way your hand sweats. This may cause swelling and discomfort of the hand.
  • If it is cold your hand may feel uncomfortable.

For most patients this operation does not involve these complications and they are pleased with the results of surgery. This sheet is not a complete list of all the possible complications, but it is provided to act as an additional source of information, following your discussion about the operation.

If you require any further information or advice please contact:

Sister or Nurse in Charge Plastic Surgery Out Patient Department, RVI

Telephone:  (0191) 282 4228 (direct line) Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm, or

Sister or Nurse in Charge Ward 47, RVI

Telephone:  (0191) 282 5647 (direct line) anytime

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