Today we will go over what to expect if you require surgery to release your Dupuytren’s Contracture.
What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Beneath your skin, you have a layer of tissue called fascia. When you have Dupuytren’s contracture, the fascia in your palm thickens and forms tight bands with nodules. Typically, this is not painful.
You can feel the painless nodules, or bumps, beneath your skin. As the disease progresses, the bands tighten and begin to curl your finger or fingers toward your palm. Your doctor will measure the angles of the involved finger(s) and decide when to operate if he or she sees these measurements changing. Typically, a surgeon will not operate on Dupuytren’s contracture unless your finger is flexed, or bent, to a certain degree and you are unable to place your hand flat on a table.
Surgery for Dupuytren’s Contracture
If your doctor determines you are a candidate they may do surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision in your palm to remove the thick bands. They may also make incisions up into your fingers. The surgeon will make sure your fingers can move well with the bands removed.
You will have stitches and a large post-operative dressing. Once you return for a follow-up appointment the dressing can be taken down and typically a splint is made. Your doctor and therapist will go over the schedule for wearing the splint. Typically, your physician will recommend you wear the splint at night for at least 3-6 months. You wear the splint to prevent recurrence of Dupuytren’s as well as to keep the scar tissue from tightening and pulling your finger down.
The surgery can leave quite a bit of scar. Once you begin therapy, your therapist will instruct you in proper wound care until your incision heals.
Once everything is healed, your therapist will instruct you in scar massage. Be sure to complete scar massage as instructed to minimize the scar tissue. This can also help you when working on your range of motion. As mentioned above, you will also want to wear your splint as instructed to maintain a light stretch on the scar tissue (once your incision heals).
Range of Motion
After surgery, your therapist will progress you through exercises to help ensure you are able to make a fist and regain your hand strength.
Are you planning to have surgery for your Dupuytren’s Contracture? Do you need help with scar management after having the surgery? Do you need a splint adjustment? If so, you could be a candidate for hand therapy services at LB Hand Therapy in Maryland. Visit our Where to Begin page to become a patient.