Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Surgery Time

This is what Steve's left hand currently looks like

It is called Dupuytrens Contracture.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition in which tissue in the palm of the hand covering the finger tendons thickens and scars. This tissue becomes tight and shortened, contracting the fingers inwards toward the palm.

The development of Dupuytren’s contracture usually occurs quite slowly over many months, or even years, (in Steve's case it has been develpoing over the last 10 years) though in rare cases it can develop suddenly. It can affect any of the fingers, but it most commonly affects the little finger and ring finger.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a relatively common condition but its cause is not fully understood. In most cases it does not occur until after the age of 40 years (Steve has had this since his early 30's) and it is more common in men than it is in women.
Dupuytren’s contracture runs in families so it is thought that genetics can play a part in the development of the condition. ( No one in his family has this, although my Uncle has, so does that mean our boys are at a higher risk of getting it?) Other factors that increase the likelihood of developing Dupuytren’s contracture include:

  • Diabetes (as Steve has this then this will be the underliying cause for him)
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
Once the condition progresses to a point where the condition is limiting or disabling, surgery is usually recommended. Surgery involves removing the excess tissue in the palm and returning function to the fingers.

And this is the stage that we are at now with Steve. In fact today is the day of his surgery to get it fixed on his left hand.
It will involve surgery of just over an hour, where they will remove all the thickened tissue along the tendon on his hand and then his finger will straighten out. Unfortunately this will leave him with a big hole in his hand so they will take some skin from his hip and put a skin graft on to his hand.
So when he wakes up he will have a suture line on his hip and his left hand will be bandaged up with a back slab to stop him moving it!
He will have appointments with the physiotherapist each week to help him to gain use back in his finger.
He also has this disease in his other hand on the same finger, (he will need surgery on that in a couple of years time) his thumbs, his feet and in his groin.
In the picture below you can already see the thickening around the tendon on his little finger on his right hand, but his finger is still relatively straight for now!

However his feet do not bother him so much as he walks on them so this stops the tendon from contracting like his hands due to the weight from his body.

So we are in for a quiet Christmas with me recovering from my neck accident and him out of action with one hand. Don't think we will be getting much done over the holiday time apart from sitting around and enjoying what ever sunny weather we are lucky enough to get!

1 comment:

Needled Mom said...

My FIL also had the situation and had surgery on it. It is not fun to have all of that to look forward to.