The Fate of Dupuytren's Nodules: A Six-Year Follow-Up Study
In this study researchers at the University of Cincinnati followed 59 patients with Dupuytren's nodules of the hand. Patients were seen for at least six years from the time symptoms started.

Dupuytren's involves the fascia or connective tissue of the palm. An excess of abnormal connective tissue forms nodules in the palm. The base of the ring and little fingers are affected most often.

The authors review the course of the disease. Nodules form then develop into cords. Joint contractures form with loss of motion. As time goes on the condition usually gets worse and often affects both hands. A small number of patients do get better.

The authors found three major risk factors in how quickly Dupuytren's progresses. These include disease before age 50, Northern European ethnicity, and a positive family history of Dupuytren's.

The overall fate of most patients with Dupuytren's is one of gradual progression. The earlier it develops in life, the faster it gets worse. Surgery to remove the nodules is not always advised. Often the nodules come back.
References
Rachel M. Reilly, BS, et al. A Retrospective Review of the Management of Dupuytren's Nodules. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2005. Vol. 30A. No. 5. pp. 1014-1018.