Treating Dupuytren Contracture

Palm view of hand showing palmar fascia removed with an inset showing a zigzag incision.

Dupuytren contracture may require no treatment if your symptoms are mild. If your symptoms are more severe or they worsen, you may need treatment. Steroid or enyzme injections can be done to weaken and disrupt the cords. Another option is surgery. Surgery may be performed to remove the affected tissue. Physical therapy is often required afterwards to get the best results. Recovery may take several months. Your healthcare provider may suggest surgery if use of your hand is sharply limited.

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 healthcare provider 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.

After surgery

In the first few days, keep your hand elevated above your heart to reduce swelling and pain. And take any pain pills your healthcare provider prescribed. If you’re asked to use ice, follow your healthcare provider’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.

Risks and complications

Your healthcare provider 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 or permanent stiffness in hand (rare)

  • Infection