Expected Results and Possible Complications

Most of the patients having undergone Dupuytren’s contracture surgery will not need physiotherapy. What they do need is close monitoring of the wound-healing process by the surgeon.

On the first post-operative day, the wound dressing is changed. The new bandage is smaller and only the operated finger(s) are bandaged. The patient is encouraged to start practising bending and extending their fingers as soon as possible, as this will diminish swelling. Splints, bandages and sutures are removed on the tenth day after the operation, while the wound remains protected by a plaster pad for a few more days. The patient is encouraged to self-exercise the hand and bathe it in lukewarm water twice a day. It is recommended to massage the scars a few times a day with oily cream to help the tissue heal. Two weeks after surgery, the plaster is not needed anymore, and the patient is encouraged to use the hand as much as possible.

If the patient has had contracture for a longer time and the fingers were very curled, the results are not as good. Long-term disease causes changes to the joint capsule and possibly also tendon shortening. This is why it is almost impossible for such patients to extend the fingers completely; still, a significant improvement of the condition and of the hand function is possible.

The most inconvenient complication after a Dupuytren’s contracture surgery is nerve injury, which results in poorer sensitivity of the operated finger(s). Such complications are rare but possible.

Dupuytren’s contracture surgery is a relatively simple procedure. The results are mostly good, with the patients being able to extend their fingers and use their hand normally. They can return to their usual activities, including work, in less than a month.