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Q: What is Dupuytren’s Disease?

Posted December 24, 2014 in Advice Column, Waukee


A: Can you get your hand in a glove or pocket during this cold weather? Or does Dupuytren’s disease make it hard to keep your hands warm?

Dupuytren’s disease is a condition that affects the palmar fascia. When this fascia thickens in Dupuytren’s disease, it draws the fingers into the palm causing a flexion contracture. Dupuytren’s is typically painless but causes dysfunction in activities that require use of the fingers in a fully straight position.

Traditionally, surgery was the only treatment available to remove the cords and release the contracted joints. Surgery requires anesthesia and a six-week recovery period. 

Recently, treatments have expanded to include two nonoperative options. These procedures are done in the office by a surgeon under local anesthesia. One treatment involves injection of a collagenase enzyme into the thickened fascia which weakens the cord. The day after the injection, the finger is manually straightened by the surgeon which disrupts the cord thus releasing the contracture. The other nonoperative treatment, called needle aponeurotomy, involves perforation of the cord with a needle to release the contracture. 

All treatments for Dupuytren’s disease carry the risk of recurrence. Consult a hand surgeon to discuss which treatment is right for you.


Information provided by Hand Surgeon Dr. Patricia Kallemeier, Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons (DMOS). For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 515-224-5206.

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