The Dupuytren’s Contracture Release Operation (fasciectomy)

Dupuytren’s disease is a problem that affects the hands of adults causing permanent bending of the fingers so that they cannot be straightened out any more. It commonly affects the ring and little fingers but can affect any including the thumb. There is usually a thick cord of hard, scar-like tissue under the skin of the finger, which passes down into the palm of the hand. The operation for this condition varies depending on the severity of the case however the most common of these involves removing the abnormal Dupuytren’s tissue.

After The Operation

There will be a large bandage on your hand. There may also be a plaster cast keeping the fingers straight. Keep your hand elevated to reduce swelling. The heavy bandage will be removed after 5-7 days by the hand therapist. The stitches will be removed 2-3 weeks after the surgery and you will be asked to start massaging the scar with a moisturiser. There may be an open wound in the palm which will heal with time. You will have a plastic splint made so that you can keep your fingers straight. This must be worn for at least 6 weeks after the surgery. After six weeks of wearing the splint full- time, you may wear it during the night for a further two months or as advised by the surgeon.

You may get back to driving after three weeks if you feel safe to do so and can consider going back to work three weeks after surgery, or earlier, depending on your job.

Risks Of Surgery

Usually surgery is successful but this may be a technically difficult operation and there are some possible complications of surgery that you should know about. Stiffness and swelling of the fingers is common. Keeping the fingers well elevated and moving them early tends to limit this. Sometimes there will be numbness in the operated fingers which, in rare cases, may be permanent. It is not possible in all cases to obtain a completely straight finger at surgery. It is better to have a slightly bent finger that flexes all the way to the palm than an absolutely straight finger that does not move. In a proportion of cases the contracture returns even after a good initial correction. This is the nature of the disease and sometimes repeat surgery is necessary to straighten the finger again.

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