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Dupuytrens – Overview

January 27, 2021


Dupuytren’s disease is a hereditary condition that affects hands and people with a genetic predisposition. The disease is manifested in a number of ways, all of them producing symptoms and physical findings characteristic of Dupuytren’s disease. It affects about 1% of the population and it tends to be more prevalent in people of Northern European ancestry. Duputytren’s disease is a condition that affects a specific structure in the hands. That structure is called the palmar fascia, and it’s the thin layer of tissue immediately under the skin and the palm that gives the palmar skin its stability and an anchor point. If you compare that to the loose skin on the back of the hand, which has no fascia to attach, you can see that the palmar fascia serves a very important purpose in the hand in making the hand a useful instrument. In people with Dupuytren’s disease, they develop a gradual buildup of excess collagen in the palmar fascia in very predictable ways. Those ways allow us to determine that people’s complaints and the reason they’re experiencing symptoms are in fact, Dupuytren’s disease. It’s diagnosed largely based on its clinical presentation, what people experience and how their physical exam looks when they present for medical attention. There are no specific tests that confirm Dupuytren’s disease. It’s a clinical diagnosis based on history and physical exam. And that history often includes a strong family history with multiple members in various generations, presenting with similar complaints. Dupuytren’s disease can affect one hand or both hands. And it has various manifestations from very mild to very severe conditions.

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