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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Aim: This study involved a postal questionnaire survey to know the attitude of consultant orthopaedic surgeons in U.K. with regards to their postoperative management of Dupuytren’s surgery patients.

Methods & Results: A questionnaire was sent to Orthopaedic surgeons practising in UK. 573 consultants replied to the questionnaire. 169 surgeons (29.49%) stated to have special interest in hand surgery. 357 surgeons (62.3%) stated having no interest in hand surgery. 43 surgeons did not reply to the questionnaire. 81 surgeons (14.13%) always used post operative splintage.109 surgeons (19.03) used splintage most of the time, 126 surgeons (21.98%) rarely used it and 89 surgeons (15.53%) stated never using any form of splintage.

Most of them used static splintage (45.20%) and only 5.23% used dynamic splintage.11 surgeons stated using both the types of splintage. 267 surgeons did not questionnaire. Majority of the surgeons applied a static splint (pop slab, thermoplastic splint) after the surgery while others applied it after reducing the dressing within 2 weeks of the operation. 264 (46.07%) surgeons did not reply to the question.

In majority of cases the splint was applied by the occupational therapist. The surgeon, physiotherapist, and orthotist in some cases also applied the splint. Individual comments from surgeons made an interesting reading. After an initial period of continuous splintage majority of the surgeons used night splintage only. 265 surgeons did not reply to the question. Mostly the splint-age was used for 4–6 weeks. Although the spectrum of splintage varied from 2 weeks to 24 weeks. Some of the surgeons stated their own clinical practice in their comments.

179 surgeons stated always referring their patient for postoperative physiotherapy.

13 surgeons (2.26%) never referred their patients for physiotherapy.

77 surgeons on very odd occasions had postoperative physiotherapy for their patients.

Majority of surgeons started the physiotherapy between 1 and 2 weeks, after the stitches have been removed. 107 surgeons favoured early commencement of hand exercises within first week of surgery. 224 surgeon did not reply to this question.

Most of the surgeons followed the patients for two to four months. Longer follow up was done for patients with recurrence, severe or bilateral disease. Also those patients, who had proximal interphalangeal joint contracture and other risk factors, were followed for a longer period. Some of the surgeons commented following them for life in their clinical practice.

Conclusion: This survey revealed interesting facts regarding the management of Dupuytren’s contracture surgery patients. The disparity in reply clearly indicates the need for further research with attention to long term funtional results.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.