Treatment of Dupuytren's Disease (Dupuytren's contracture) in Austria
Dr. Andrea Schweitzer-Ehrenreich, specialist in diseases of the wrists at the Döbling Private Hospital in Vienna, answers the questions about Dupuytren's disease.
What causes Dupuytren's disease?
The causes of the disease are not entirely clear, but a genetic predisposition seems to play a role.
As a consequence, the typical constrictions occur, i.e. the affected finger is fixed in a bent position. The middle and ring fingers are the most commonly affected. The disease usually occurs in middle to old age, and is much more common in men.
What happens if there is no treatment?
The disease develops slowly, often without pain. If it progresses and is not treated, the affected fingers can no longer be stretched and the function of the hand is severely reduced. If the fingers can no longer be placed on a straight surface, a hand surgeon should be consulted.
What treatment options are there?
In most cases, surgery is indicated, in some cases, injection therapy. If only single strands are present, syringe treatment can be done. However, the risk of recurrence is higher here.
If several strands are affected or if there is a significant functional limitation, surgery is the only option. The surgeon removes the thickened tissue in order to remove the mobility of the finger. The hand is fully mobile immediately after the procedure. Only in severe cases a splint has to be worn during the night after the operation in order to strengthen the stretching behavior again.
In order to ensure the long-term success of the operation, special hand therapy is recommended in any case.
How long does the stay in the clinic usually last?
The procedure can be performed on a day clinic basis, i.e. without an overnight stay in the hospital, under plexus anesthesia (local anesthesia that eliminates the sensation of pain in the arm).
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