Dupuytren’s disease: a FAQ

What is Dupuytren’s disease?

Something that’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s a genetic condition mainly found in older males of Northern European extraction, which begins as a lump in the palm of the hand – usually below the ring finger. In time, that lump can develop into a band which grows into the finger, which has the potential to pull fingers out of their natural resting position and force them downwards into the palm. In more extreme cases, it can result in an inability to straighten one or more fingers, and even the thumb.

Is it a painful condition?

Not particularly. It’s more of an annoyance and is in no way an indication of something more life-threatening. However, if you use your hands during your day-to-day life to perform intricate tasks, it really can get in the way.

Is there anything I can take to cure Dupuytren’s disease?

Sadly, there is no medication, either internal or topical, that can fend off Duypuytren’s. However, there are a range of treatments available which can counter the effects the ailment has on your fingers. In mild cases, a course of steroid injections can fend off the worst effects, but in more severe cases, intrusive surgery is required.

Can I get treated on the NHS?

Yes, as long as you’re prepared to wait. They don’t consider Dupuytren’s a ‘serious’ ailment, so be prepared to be put on the end of a long waiting list or at the mercy of the postcode lottery. Or come and talk to us.

What does the surgery involve?

It rather depends on the severity of the condition, but the procedure – known as a fascioctomy –  usually involves one or more incisions made in the palm, which allow the surgeon to straighten the finger. It’s a walk-in, walk-out treatment, there’s a choice of general or local anaesthetic, and recovery time varies from four to twelve weeks.

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