Dupuytren’s Contracture and Ledderhose Disease
This condition develops when a benign growth of fibrous tissue, along with the tendons in the palm of the hand, causes shortening of the tendons and retraction of the fingers (most commonly the fourth finger) so that they cannot be straightened. In mild cases, this is just a nuisance, but severe cases can markedly limit the use of the hand. A related condition sometimes occurs in the soles of the feet, where it is called Ledderhose disease, after the German doctor who first described it.
For advanced Dupuytren’s, the only treatment is surgery, and the chance of complications and relapses is high. For early cases, there has been a good success in using radiation therapy. We use a form of radiation that is effective just below the surface of the palm. The usual course is five very brief daily treatments in a week, repeated again 10 or 14 weeks later. The best outcome of radiation therapy has been observed before 10 degrees of contracture and within the first year of the appearance of symptoms. The study suggests up to 87% success rate with radiation therapy if given before 10 degrees of contracture. Success rate would decline once contracture progressed beyond 10 degrees. Risks and side effects are very small. It is best to use radiation therapy before any surgery, as this gives the highest chance of retaining complete function. However, radiation therapy can be considered after surgery.
A related condition sometimes occurs in the soles of the feet, where it is called Ledderhose disease, after the German doctor who first described it. This, too, can respond to radiation therapy.
You can learn much more about Dupuytren’s and its research and treatment from the International Dupuytren Society.
Learn more about the International Dupuytren Data Bank (IDDB) – Dupuytren Foundation Research For a Cure: DupStudy.com
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