Does Dupuytren Contracture Go Away?
Many people wonder whether this condition can disappear, but, sadly, it does not. There are ways to manage the symptoms, but the later stages of this condition can only be slowed down. Once the symptoms have set in, it's likely that someone will have Dupuytren's contracture for the rest of their life.
Since there are two main stages to Dupuytren's (and both have a different prognosis), we will discuss them separately. If a contracture has already begun to develop, then you may wish to skip ahead to that section to learn more about symptoms and what to expect.
The Formation of Dupuytren's Nodules
Before a contracture of the fingers begins to develop, nodules will form on the palm of the hand. This may occur many years before contracture ever exists. At this point, Dupuytren's contracture may not necessarily occur. One study discovered that less than 35% of people with Dupuytren's nodules developed a contracture. And, when this did occur, it happened more than 18 years later.
Some patients at this stage may find that the nodules disappear, but this is very rare. In fact, one study found that a little over 10% of cases result in the spontaneous remission of the nodules, meaning they go away without notice. At this point, the condition is incredibly hard to treat. Many doctors are willing to make a diagnosis, but most will wait until the disease results in a contracture before they administer any treatment.
Does Dupuytren's Contracture Go Away?
If the condition has developed into full contracture, then the condition is not going to disappear. Most doctors now believe that the condition is irreversible. This condition does progress slowly, so many people may believe their Dupuytren's contracture is healing. For example, there will be times where the inflammation and pain is not quite so bad. As a result, the fingers may start to move back into a more normal position. However, this is always short-lived.
Dupuytren's contracture cannot disappear due to the type of condition that it is. This condition, as you know, is characterized by the thickening of the connective tissue just under the skin. As this connective tissue begins to thicken, it also tightens. This is what causes the fingers to curl around. The body does not have any tools to deal with the connective tissue hardening and views it as normal. This means, it's nearly impossible to stop the connective tissue from thickening. In fact, the body will be throwing resources at the issue and further feeding the problem.
Remember, Dupuytren's contracture is a genetic condition. While there are certain external factors that may increase the risk of Dupuytren's contracture occurring, your body will always be hard-wired to develop it from birth. This is why the body sees it as a natural process.
Can The Symptoms and Progression of Dupuytren's Contracture Be Slowed Down?
With the right therapeutic methods, the progression of Dupuytren's can be slowed down. In fact, some people find that it slows down just enough that their hands never become contracted. They will still be able to carry things and use their hands like they could always do.
It is worth noting that there is no evidence behind the effectiveness of therapeutic methods during the early stages of the condition. So, if you only have nodules and they are not painful, no treatment has been known to slow down that progression. It is only when the contracture sets in that therapies really begin to work. Most doctors will not even pay attention to your condition at this stage. They will likely note that you are suffering from the condition in your medical records, but you probably will not have to bring it up again for years, if ever.
In the past, the only real way to slow down the progression would have been through invasive treatments. However, in most cases, invasive treatments are no longer the only answer. Some companies have created creams for slowing down the progression of the disease. These creams can continue to work up until the fingers have severely contracted. However, it is likely that these methods will never allow the condition to advance to that stage if they are used early on.
Many treatments may alleviate some symptoms related to Dupuytren's contracture. This does not just mean the main symptom of the finger curling, but other secondary symptoms that many people do not think about. This includes:
- Inflammation in the impacted area
- Pain levels that you experience
- Stiffness in the fingers
Again, there is still no cure for these symptoms and they will eventually return. However, many people find that, if they stay on top of a proper treatment regimen, flares will be minimal. In fact, some people discover that they often go many years without any real symptoms beyond the inability to straighten their hand.
Can Dupuytren's Contracture Return After Surgery?
Surgery remains the primary method for dealing with serious cases of Dupuytren's contracture. One study discovered that around 75% of people were happy with the outcome of their surgery. However, other research suggests there is no way to eliminate the chances of Dupuytren's contracture coming back.
That being said, after surgery, the progression of the disease will likely slow down. This means it may take several years before somebody with a recurring case of Dupuytren's contracture will need surgery. Instead, they may be able to use non-invasive methods for Dupuytren's.
Dupuytren's contracture will not just disappear on its own. Even with surgery, the condition will return. It may take a few years, but it will happen eventually. Thankfully, most people never get to the point where surgery is required. There are plenty of non-invasive methods for dealing with the condition. This can help keep symptoms at bay and slow down the progression of the disease. So, while Dupuytren's contracture is something you will deal with for the rest of your life, you shouldn't have to worry too much if you manage it properly.