Worse after Dupuytren surgery. Will I ever get any better?


I had my Dupuytren operation on the left hand on small finger and one next to it in June 2011.  I wasn’t going to get it done but my doctor said it was a simple operation.  I had the local anesthetic which was great but little did I know about 4 hours after the Dupuytren surgery that your arm starts to violently jump around and hitting you in face and flopping everywhere for about 10 hours until the anesthetic wore off.  Getting the stitches out a couple of days later was horrendous.  I  mean I can take pain, but this was so painful I could hardly stand it. It is now nearly March 2012, 10 m0nths later, and after all my painful exercises and keeping my splint on every night, my poor fingers are worse than before my hand surgery and the scar is extremely painful. 

Will this ever get any better?  Please advise me.



Greetings Liz,

Sorry to hear your sad story.  People would be surprised to know how common your results are after having Dupuytren’s surgery.   I commonly hear people like you saying that before the operation the surgeon makes the procedure sound like it is a small and simple thing, and always that his/her results are “great,” “wonderful,” and “hardly every any problem at all.”  Then after the surgery when the hand is more painful, or there is suddenly weakness or coldness or numbness that does not go away for years, the same surgeon hides behind the complexity of the procedure and denies making bold promises of a hand as good as new.

I wish I had some magic wand to wave over you and help you out, but there is none.   I cannot tell you if your problem will ever get better.  The best you can do now is to try to salvage what you are able.

The good news is that I have worked with many people like you in the past and in a good percent of cases we can help to reduce pain and maybe begin to get your hand operating better.  There are too many variables with tissue that could have been permanently injured during your surgery, for me to tell you that for sure you can be helped.  Everyone is different and not all surgeons are as good as we would like them to be.

I think you should at least try working with your hand problem by putting yourself on a DCI treatment plan for at least 2-3 months to see if your tissue can make some positive changes.  Some people get small relief, a lot get moderate relief and improvement,  and some get great relief.  You will never know until you try.

I also suggest you contact a very experienced physical therapist who is not affiliated or connected to the hospital in which you had your hand surgery.   You should be able to get an honest opinion and some helpful exercises and stretches to help your tissue to recover – if it is possible.  Time and a lot of work will tell.     

If you have any questions please let me know.   TRH



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