Following the operation you will normally have a bulky dressing covering your wound. The wound is checked at 48 hours and dressed until 10 days when the stitches will be removed. You will normally see the hand therapist in the first week to be fitted with a custom-made splint. This is to wear for four months just at night. This is to prevent the finger from bending in again whilst the scar matures.
RETURN TO WORK
This depends on the nature of your work. For a sedentary occupation the time off is normally 2 weeks. For a manual occupation this can be as long as 6 weeks, however it can take as long as 3 months to reach full capacity again.
It is recommended that you do not drive until the stitches have been removed at 10 days.
RETURN TO SPORT
This depends on the intensity of the sport but in most cases a return by 6 weeks is the norm. However more physically demanding sports can require as much as 3 months off.
Like with any surgery there are a number of small risks associated with this operation.
Infection (1%) is a risk with all surgery. In the majority of cases these are infections around the wound and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. The more unusual deep-seated infections however can require admission to hospital and surgery to clean the wound out if necessary.
Swelling and Stiffness can remain for many months following surgery. It is important to elevate the limb and keep all joints that are not immobilised with a splint, active.
Scar Sensitivity is often a problem with surgery in the hand, particularly the palm. This is often self-limiting and daily massage of the scar can shorten the duration of the symptoms. The sensitivity does settle is all cases with time.
Nerve Injury is a potential but very rare risk with this surgery. Often the nerves at greatest risk are the nerves supplying feeling to the corresponding digit. In most cases the feeling normally recovers with time, however when the nerve is cut, it can leave you with permanent numbness on one side of the finger.
Recurrence is a genuine problem in Dupuytren’s disease as we have no treatment for the underlying disease process. As a general rule, those requiring treatment for the first time over the age of 60 years are less likely to need further surgery on the same finger. The disease can however affect other digits or the other hand. Surgery for recurrent disease is possible but is often more involved and requires a greater period of rehabilitation.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an extremely rare (1%) complication that can follow any injury or surgery to a limb. In this situation the nerves in the arm over-react to the point where the hand becomes very painful, swollen and sensitive. This condition does improve with time but can be problematic for many months (see section on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome).