Dupuytren’s Disease refers to a benign (non-cancerous) condition in which the fascia, the tissues under the skin, become abnormally thick. The progression of tissue thickness begins from the palm and from there it can find its way to the fingers.
The person suffering from this condition might get firm pits, cords, and nodules in the hand. This can cause the fingers bend permanently into the palm, a condition called Dupuytren’s Contracture.
The skin is something that is directly affected by this disease. However, the structures that are found deeper in a human hand, such as tendons, are not specifically involved in the ailment. There might be some times when the knuckles increase in thickness, and in other cases, the nodules and the cords also get denser than they should be.
What causes Dupuytren’s Disease?
Many people are looking for the factors that can actually explain what causes this disease, but still there is no definite verdict yet. This problem seems to be a lot more common in the people who are over forty years of age and are men.
The statistics have shown that this disease is more prevalent among the people who have a northern European ancestry. There is no proof or statement right now that can show that this disease can be caused by a certain hand injury or hits the people of a specific occupation.
You can find a list of all the possible medical explanations for Dupuytren’s here.
What are the signs and symptoms of Dupuytren’s disease?
The signs and the symptoms of Dupuytren’s disease include the formation of pits and lumps (nodules) in the palm. The lumps that are formed may stick to the skin, and the person suffering from this disease can also get thick cords in their palms that then grow all the way to their fingers. These cords “tether” the fingers and prevent full extension (straightening).
There are many cases where both hands exhibit symptoms. Initially, the nodules may cause some soreness to the person, but on the whole it is not a very painful disease.
This video gives a great overview of what Dupuytren’s looks like – from very mild (the first signs of the disease) to severe.
Treatments for Dupuytren’s disease and contracture
In the case when the disease is at a stage where it is very mild and the functionality of the hand is not severely affected, the patient is just kept under observation.
However, in the cases where the disease has reached a severe level, special measures are taken. Three possible treatment options for severe Dupuytren’s Disease are collagenase injection, open surgery, or a needle aponeurotomy. You can read more details of the treatments and the science behind them here.
The following video shows me treating a patient in the office with Xiaflex – a collagenase (enzyme) that dissolves a part of the cord.