Updated: 5/19/2021

Dupuytren's Disease

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  • Summary
    • Dupuytren's Disease is a benign proliferative disorder characterized by decreased hand function caused by hand contractures and painful fascial nodules.
    • Diagnosis can be made by physical examination which shows painful nodules in the palm with associated digital contracture.
    • Treatment ranges from nonoperative passive stretching to injections, needle aponeurotomy, and operative open fasciectomy if the disease progresses or affects a patient's daily living.
  • Epidemiology
    • Incidence
      • common
        • ~30 per 100,000 annually
    • Demographics
      • 2:1 male to female ratio
        • more severe disease in men than women
      • most commonly occurs in 5-7th decade of life
        • presents earlier in men (mean 55y) than women (mean 65y)
      • ethnicity
        • most commonly in caucasian males of northern European descent
        • rare in south America, Africa, China
    • Genetics
      • autosomal dominant with variable penetrance
    • Anatomic location
      • ring > small > middle > index
  • Etiology
    • Pathophysiology
      • myofibroblast is the dominant cell type
        • differs from fibroblast as the myofibroblast has INTRACELLULAR ACTIN filaments aligned along long axis of cell
        • adjacent myofibroblasts connect via EXTRACELLULAR FIBRONECTIN to act together to create contracted tissue
      • type III collagen predominates (> type I collagen)
      • cytokines have been implicated
        • TGFbeta1, TGFbeta2, epidermal growth factor, PDGF, connective tissue growth factor
      • ectopic manifestations
        • Ledderhose disease (plantar fascia) 10-30%
        • Peyronie's disease (dartos fascia of penis) 2-8%
        • Garrod disease (knuckle pads) 40-50%
    • Associated conditions
      • HIV, alcoholism, diabetes, antiseizure medications
  • Anatomy
    • Nodules and Cords make up the pathologic anatomy
      • nodules appear before contractile cords
    • Normal fascial bands become pathologic cords
      • Palmar
        • pretindinous cord
      • Palmodigital transition
        • natatory cord
        • spiral cord
      • Digital
        • central cord - distal extent of the pretendinous cord
        • lateral cord
        • digital cord
        • retrovascular cord
    • Different named cords include but are not limited to
      • spiral cord
        • most important cord
        • cause of PIP contracture
        • typically inserts distally into the lateral digital sheet then into Grayson's ligament
        • components
          • pretendinous band
          • spiral band
          • lateral digital sheet
          • Grayson's ligament
        • travels under the neurovascular bundle displacing it central and superficial
          • at risk during surgical resection
          • best predictors of displacement are
          • PIP joint flexion contracture (77% positive predictive value)
          • interdigital soft-tissue mass (71% positive predictive value)
      • central cord
        • from disease involving pretendinous band
        • inserting into flexor sheath at PIPJ level and causes MCP contracture
        • forms palmar nodules and pits between distal palmar crease and palmar digital crease
        • NOT involved with neurovascular bundle
      • retrovascular cord
        • runs dorsal to the neurovascular bundle distally
        • originates from proximal phalanx, inserts on distal phlanx
        • causes DIP contracture
      • natatory cord (from natatory ligament)
        • causes web space contracture
    • NOT involved in Dupuytren's disease
      • Cleland's ligament
      • transverse ligament of the palmar aponeurosis
  • Classification
      • Stages of Dupuytren's (Luck)
      • Proliferative stage
      • Hypercellular with large myofibroblasts and immature fibroblasts - this is a nodule
      • Very vascular with many gap junctions
      • Minimal extracellular matrix
      • Involutional stage
      • Dense myofibroblast network
      • Fibroblasts align along tension lines and produce more collagen
      • Increase ratio of type III to type I collagen
      • Residual stage
      • Myofibroblast disappear (acellular) leaving fibrocytes as the predominate cell line
      • Leaves dense collagen-rich tissue/scar
  • Presentation
    • Symptoms
      • decreased ROM affecting ADL
      • painful nodules
    • Physical exam
      • nodule in the pretendinous bands of the palmar fascia
        • nodule beyond MCPJ is strong clue suggesting spiral cord displacing digital nerve midline and superficial
      • most commonly involve small or ring finger
      • Hueston's tabletop test
        • ask patient to place palm flat on table
        • look for MCP or PIP contracture
      • look for bilateral involvement and ectopic associations (plantar fascia)
        • indicative of more aggressive form (Dupuytren's diathesis)
  • Diagnosis
    • Clinical
      • diagnosis is made with careful history and physical examination
  • Treatment
    • Nonoperative
      • range of motion exercises
      • injection of Clostridium histolyticum collagenase (Xiaflex)
        • indications
          • may be attempted but condition will not spontaneously resolve
        • outcomes
          • early efficacy seen with injections of clostridial collagenase into Dupuytren's cords
            • causes lysis and rupture of cords
          • able to correct MCP/PIP contracture to <5°
          • more successful at MCP correction than PIP correction
          • PIP recurrence more severe than MCP recurrence
      • needle aponeurotomy
        • indications
          • mild contractures (at the MCP > PIP)
          • medical co-morbidities that preclude surgery
        • outcomes
          • more successful for MCP contracture than PIP
          • less improvement and higher recurrence rate than surgery (open partial fasciectomy)
    • Operative
      • surgical resection/fasciectomy
        • indications
          • MCP flexion contractures > 30°
          • PIP flexion contractures
          • painful nodules are not an indication for surgery
        • techniques
          • partial fasciectomy
          • open palm fasciectomy (McCash technique)
          • total/radial fasciectomy
      • surgical resection/fasciectomy with skin graft
        • rarely needed for primary cases
        • indications
          • severe, diffuse disease
          • multiple joint involvement
          • recurrences
        • technique
          • full thickness skin graft
        • outcomes
          • rarely fail to "take" even if placed directly over neurovascular bundles/flexor sheath
          • Dupuytrens recurrence is uncommon beneath a graft
      • salvage techniques
        • indications
          • for chronically recurrent and advanced disease
        • technique
          • Hueston dermofasciectomy (excise skin + fascia)
          • arthrodesis
          • amputation
  • Techniques
    • Injection of Clostridium histolyticum collagenase (Xiaflex)
      • technique
        • has low activity against type IV collagen (in basement membrane of blood vessels and nerves) explaining the low neurovascular complication rate
        • minimum dose is 10,000 units
        • use 0.25ml for MCP, and 0.20ml for PIP
        • followed by stretch manipulation within 24-48h under local anesthesia
          • literature has shown that contracture correction is equivalent up to 7 days following collagenase injection
        • repeat at 1 month if desired result not achieved
      • complications
        • minor
          • edema/contusion, skin tear, pain are most common
        • major (1%)
          • flexor tendon rupture, CRPS, pulley rupture
    • Needle aponeurotomy
      • technique
        • perform in office using 22G or 25G needle
        • followed by manipulation and night orthosis wear
    • Partial palmar fasciectomy
      • technique
        • removal of all diseased tissue only in involved digits
        • dissect from proximal to distal
        • incision options - Brunner zigzag, multiple V-Y, sequential Z-plasties
      • pros
        • most widely used surgical treatment
        • overlying skin is preserved
      • postoperative care
        • early active range of motion (starting postoperative day 5-7)
        • night-time extension brace or splint
    • Open palm technique (McCash technique)
      • approach
        • leave a transverse skin incision open at the distal palmar crease
      • pros
        • reduced hematoma formation
        • reduced risk for stiffness
      • outcome
        • longer healing
        • greater recurrence than if the palmar defect were covered with transposition flap or FTSG
    • Total/radical palmar fasciectomy
      • infrequently used
      • technique
        • release/excision of all palmar and digital fascia including non-diseased fascia
      • cons
        • high complication rate
        • little effect on recurrence rate (also high)
  • Complications
    • Recurrence
      • 30% at 1-2y, 15% at 3-5y, 10% at 5-10y, and <10% after 10y
      • higher recurrence with non-operative measures (needle aponeurotomy and collagenase injection)
      • PIP develop contratures of secondary structures that may need more comprehensive surgical release
        • volar plate
        • accessory collateral ligaments
        • flexor sheath
      • risk factors 
        • Dupuytren diathesis (age <50, white men, bilateral hands DD, family history, ectopic disease outside the palm including Ledderhoses, Peyronies, Garrods pads)
          • patients with Dupuytren diathesis may need more aggressive followup and treatment
        • PIP disease
        • small finger contracture
    • Wound edge necrosis/slough
    • Hematoma
      • most common surgical complication
      • can lead to flap necrosis
    • Flare reaction
      • pain syndrome with diffuse swelling, hyperesthesia, redness and stiffness
      • minimize by not splinting immediately postop; apply splints at first follow-up
      • treatment
        • cervical sympathetic blockage, progressive stress-loading in therapy
        • A1 pulley release
      • no increase risk of CRPS with fasciectomy + carpal tunnel release
    • Neurovascular injury
      • because of midline + superficial displacement of NV bundle by spiral cord
      • identify prior to excising cord
      • risk is 5-10x higher for recurrent disease
      • treatment
        • immediate neurorrhaphy (nerve repair)
    • Digital ischemia
      • most common reason is correction of longstanding joint contracture and vessels have inadequate elasticity
      • less commonly traction, transection, spasm, intimal hemorrhage, rupture
      • minimize by not splinting immediately postop and apply splints at first follow-up visit
      • treatment
        • allow joint to relax, warm the digit
        • topical lidocaine and papaverine
        • if thrombosed segment is identified, use interpositional vein graft
    • Postop swelling
      • contributes to stiffness, poor wound healing
    • PIP complications
      • stiffness, instability, flexion contracture
    • Infection
      • increased risk with DM and PVD
      • oral antibiotics for superficial infection
      • surgical drainage for deep infection

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Questions (10)
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(SBQ17SE.42) A 56-year-old male presents to the office with the clinical picture shown in Figure A. He elects treatment with a collagenase injection. The patient receives his injection and due to social reasons is unable to follow-up for one week. How will his current outcome compare to if he could follow-up the next day?

QID: 211567

He will have increased pain on cord manipulation



He will have less than 50% contracture correction at 7 days post injection



He will have greater contracture correction at 7 days post injection



He will have equivalent contracture correction



He will have decreased rate of skin tears



L 5 A

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(OBQ12.245) A 50-year-old patient presents with stiffness in her hand. A clinical photo is shown in Figure A. During surgical exposure, the neurovascular bundle is identified and dissected. What is the clinically most important pathologic structure to identify and what is its location relative to the neurovascular bundle in the digit?

QID: 4605

Spiral cord which is central and superficial to the neurovascular bundle



Central cord which is midline and superficial to the neurovascular bundle



Retrovascular cord which is central and superficial to the neurovascular bundle



Spiral cord which is lateral and deep to the neurovascular bundle



Central cord which is lateral and deep to the neurovascular bundle



L 1 B

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(OBQ10.110) Which of the following patients with Dupuytren's contracture would benefit the most from dermatofasciectomy and full-thickness skin grafting opposed to traditional fasciectomy?

QID: 3204

70-year-old sedentary male with small finger involvement isolated to the MCP joint



50-year-old male systems analyst with ring and small finger involvement limited to the MCP joints



65-year-old female golfer with ring and small finger involvement including MCP and PIP joints



40-year-old female stenographer with middle, ring, and small finger involvement including MCP and PIP joints with 50 and 55 degree contractures of ring and small finger MCP joints, respectively



None of the above as no difference in outcome has been demonstrated between the two procedures



L 4 D

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(OBQ04.133) All of the following have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Dupuytren's contracture EXCEPT?

QID: 1238

Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)



Transforming growth factor- beta (TGF-beta)






Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)






L 1 D

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(OBQ04.267) What is the name of the pathologic structure, identified by the white arrow in Figure A, that displaces the digital neurovascular bundle and places it at risk during during surgical treatment of Dupuytren's disease?

QID: 1372

Pretendinous cord



Pretendinous band



Spiral cord



Spiral band



Natatory cord



L 1 C

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Evidence (28)
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