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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Before & after surgery for Dupuytren contracture

Stop smoking as early as possible. It makes the operation safer and will help you to heal better. Smokers have more complications from this surgery and may recover more slowly.

Please bring in any medicines you are taking, including any over-the-counter ones you have bought in a supermarket, pharmacy or online.

Before your operation you will see your surgeon. Please ask them any questions and tell them if you have any concerns about your operation.

You will need to sign a consent form.

It's unlikely you will need any special tests before your operation.

After the operation

If you have an arm block to numb your arm and hand you will slowly get normal feeling back within 12 to 36 hours after surgery. At first you might not have any control over your arm movements, so take care not to hurt yourself.

You will need to keep your hand raised (elevated) in a sling for about 48 hours, to reduce swelling and pain. Your hand might be put in a splint or a cast, in which case you will not be able to move your fingers for seven to 12 days.

Take the sling off at night and raise your hand up by putting it on pillows. Take the sling off several times a day to exercise your elbow and shoulder.

When you go home you will be given an appointment for an outpatient follow-up, or it might be posted to you two or three days after the operation.


Keep your hand dry until your stitches are removed. Put it in a plastic bag and tape the top of the bag securely to your skin before you have a shower. You will get specific advice about your dressing, bandaging, stitches and so on after your operation.

Your discharge letter will include instructions about removing your bandage and your follow-up appointment.

Pain relief

Take two paracetamol (Panadol) every four to six hours – this is usually enough for most people. If you need stronger pain relief, take one to two codeine 30 mg tablets as well. You can take codeine at the same time as you take paracetamol, but do not take more than eight paracetamol and eight codeine in any 24-hour period.

If you are a day patient you will get a small supply of paracetamol and codeine phosphate when you go home. If you stay in hospital overnight or longer you will be given a prescription when you go home.

On the next page: Recovering from surgery for Dupuytren contracture

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Orthopaedic Surgery and clinical director, Plastic Surgery, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed April 2021.


Page reference: 109181

Review key: HIDUC-12822