I'm really disappointed because I thought the surgery I had to release the connective tissue around my finger tendons was going to make it possible to open up my palm. Instead, I think I'm actually worse. What went wrong?
Dupuytren's contracture is a fairly common disorder of the fingers. Although the exact cause is unknown, it occurs most often in middle-aged, white men. It is genetic in nature, meaning it runs in families.
The condition usually shows up as a thick nodule (knob) or a short cord in the palm of the hand, just below the ring finger. More nodules form, and the tissues thicken and shorten until the finger cannot be fully straightened. Dupuytren's contracture usually affects only the ring and little finger. The contracture spreads to the joints of the finger, which can become permanently immobilized.
Surgery to release the soft tissues (fasciectomy) and/or remove the contracted fascia (connective tissue) (fasciotomy) is the main treatment approach. The procedure is done through the skin and is called percutaneous needle fasciectomy/fasciotomy (PNF).
But because the problem is genetic, it's likely to recur despite treatment. In fact, up to 65 per cent of the time, the fingers start to stiffen up again soon after the operation. Sometimes the trauma of the surgery makes the problem worse instead of better. The younger the patient is when the disease occurs, the more likely the problem will repeat itself over time. Results from surgery aren't always perfect.
Ryan J. Caufield, and Scott G. Edwards, MD. Dupuytren Disease: An Update on Recent Literature. In Cuurent Orthopaedic Practice. September/October 2008. Vol. 19. No. 5. Pp. 499-502.
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