Dupuytren’s Disease

About Dupuytren’s Disease

Dupuytrens disease presents as an abnormal thickening of the tissue, nodules or cords just beneath the skin of the palm. This tissue layer is called the palmar fascia. It is not typically painful, but as the disease progresses it can cause the fingers to bend into the palm (contractures), causing difficulty with everyday activities.

Although the skin may become involved in the process, the deeper structures such as the tendons, are not directly involved.

Occasionally, the disease will cause thickening on top of the finger knuckles (knuckle pads).

This condition can also occur in the feet (plantar fibromatosis) but is less common.

The cause of Dupuytren’s is largely unknown. The problem is more common in men over age 40 and in people of northern European descent.

There is no proven evidence that hand injuries or specific occupations increase the risk of developing Dupuytren’s.

Non-Surgical Treatment

There are 3 non-surgical treatments that may be appropriate for mild or moderate Dupuytren’s disease and will usually offer short to medium-term relief:

  • Steroid Injections can be useful if pain or triggering in the hand are the predominant symptoms.
  • Fasciotomy is a minor procedure sometimes useful for Dupuytren’s disease to release contracture in the palm only. After local anaesthetic injection, a very fine pointed blade is used to cut through the tight cord/s.This is performed in rooms with local anaesthetic and can be combined with Xiaflex® treatment.
  • Xiaflex® is an enzyme that breaks down the Dupuytren’s disease tissue and can be used to release contractures in the hand. The treatment requires a fine needle injection and then manipulation a day or so later. It enables you to have your Dupuytren’s treated without going into hospital and without general anaesthetic

Patients with more advanced contractures may require surgery in order to improve function.


Surgical treatment of Dupuytren’s disease involves releasing the contracture and removing some of the diseased fibrous tissue, sometimes including skin.

Sometimes a skin graft or flaps are also required to help relieve tension on the skin.

The nerves to the fingertips are often wrapped up in the contracture and may be damaged during surgery.

This is usually partial and temporary. Sometimes, it may not be possible to completely release all of the contractures.


Is Dupuytren’s disease painful?

The initial lumps may produce discomfort that usually resolves itself, but Dupuytren’s disease is not typically painful.

How long is recovery post-surgery?

Surgery for Dupuytren’s disease will usually be carried out as day surgery in a hospital.

A dressing will be worn for a few weeks post-surgery and will also need hand therapy to assist with movement and to help prevent further contracture.

Most patients will need to wear a splint at night for six weeks up to three months.

Is Dupuytren’s disease likely to come back after surgery?

Despite surgery, the disease process may progress or present in other areas of the hands causing further contractures. This is usually a slow process occurring over years.

Medical terms

Contracture: A decrease in joint movement

Plantar Fibromatosis: Another name for Dupuytren’s disease when it occurs in the sole/s of the feet

Fasciotomy:  A surgical procedure where the fascia is cut to relieve tension or pressure

Xiaflex®: An enzyme that can be injected to break down the Dupuytren’s disease


Our Surgeons & Anaesthetists charge out-of-pocket fees for surgery done in the private hospital.

Because the length and complexity of the different surgical techniques are so vast, you will be given an estimate of costings after your consultation.

For more information on fees and rebates please visit the fee section on the FAQ page.

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Randwick Plastic Surgery