Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition in which thick, scar-like tissue forms under the skin of the palm. Sometimes it extends into the fingers, pulling them toward the palm, making the fingers difficult to move.

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Symptoms

The scar-like tissue can be seen and felt under the skin of the palm. If the condition extends into the fingers, it can cause them to bend back toward the palm of the hand. The tough underlying tissue may make it difficult to move the fingers normally.

Causes and Risk Factors

The condition usually develops in mid-life. No cause for it has yet been identified. There may be a genetic element to it since the condition tends to run in families.

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Diagnosis

A doctor typically will examine the affected hand and ask about your family medical history. Usually no other procedures are needed to reach the diagnosis.

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Treatments

Surgery is the only treatment for Dupuytren's contracture. The operation must be done precisely. The nerves that allow the hand to move and have sensation may be wrapped up in the abnormal tissue. In some cases, skin grafts may be needed to replace tightened and puckered skin.

The results of the surgery will depend on how severe the Dupuytren's contracture was. There is usually significant improvement in function, particularly after physical therapy. The scar is usually thin and not particularly noticeable.

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