In Dupuytren’s contracture, connective tissue under the skin of the palm thickens, gradually leading to a fixed contracture where one or more fingers bend towards the palm. The condition develops without any particular extrinsic cause. Usually the disease affects the ring finger and the little finger and can be treated with surgery.
The procedure is performed under regional anaesthesia. The thickened connective tissue is removed, allowing the finger to straighten, although in some cases not entirely.
Swelling of the hand slows down healing and causes pain. The swelling can be reduced by keeping the hand in an elevated position, also during the night, using for example a pillow. Moving the fingers and taking painkillers also help. You should start exercising the fingers immediately after the anaesthetic wears out, as permitted by the pain and bandages.
The operated hand should be used in light, everyday chores, which is good exercise for the hand. Lifting objects that weigh more than a kilogram is to be avoided until the sutures are removed. Attention must be paid to extending the fingers, in order to avoid a new contracture. See the rehabilitation guide (pdf file in Finnish).
The hand is bandaged in padded dressings for 1–2 weeks. Protect the hand with plastic when showering, so that the dressings do not get wet. The sutures are removed after 2 weeks at your health centre, occupational health centre or health clinic (neuvola). You may go to sauna 24 hours after the removal of the sutures. You may apply and massage moisturizing cream on the wound lightly starting from 3–4 days after the removal of the sutures. This softens the dry skin and makes the scarring more resilient.
Treatment of pain
It is recommended to take painkillers regularly for 2–4 days and after that when necessary.
If you experience inflammatory symptoms (increasing pain, heavy swelling, warmth, redness, continuous wound discharge) or anything else abnormal occurs, contact your health centre or treating unit.
- Day Surgery Unit
- Emergency Department
- Your own health centre or occupational health centre