What Is Dupuytren’s Contracture?

Dupuytren's Contracture pic
Dupuytren’s Contracture
Image: mayoclinic.org

A diplomate of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery with a certificate of added qualification for surgery of the hand, Dr. Bobby Chhabra is specially trained to correct problems in the delicate structures of the upper extremities. Dr. Bobby Chhabra often sees patients with deformities of the hands, such as Dupuytren’s contracture.

Typically affecting the pinky and the ring finger, Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that causes knotty tissue formation around the tendons in the palm of the hand that allow the fingers to flex and contract. This scar tissue develops just under the skin and worsens over time, causing the affected fingers to curl towards the palm. Researchers aren’t sure of the cause of Dupuytren’s contracture, but smoking, alcohol use, and a history of diabetes are known risk factors, and it tends to run in families.

A physical examination is usually all that is necessary to make a diagnosis, as the hallmark signs of the condition are knots and bands of tissue on the palm, as well as an inability to lay the hand flat on a tabletop. Minimally invasive treatments include injecting a special enzyme into the diseased tissues so they will dissolve and physically breaking up the scarred tissues with the use of a needle poked through the skin. While these treatments can be effective, they may not be as long-lasting as surgery, which can remove all traces of scarring and allow the fingers to straighten.

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