Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

NICE decided there wasn't much good evidence about how well radiation therapy works for early Dupuytren's disease, particularly because it was difficult to tell who would improve anyway without any treatment. The 7 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 925 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits:

  • Symptoms improved in about 50% of people and didn't get worse in about 35% of people, up to around 40 months after treatment.

  • Disease improved in 10% of treated hands, was stable in 59% of hands and was worse in 31% of hands, with 20% of hands needing surgery, up to around 3 years after treatment.

  • a high degree of patient satisfaction up to around 40 months after treatment.

The studies showed that the risks of radiation therapy included:

  • Tender, red, dry or peeling skin, or mild pain in up to 50% of people, and pronounced swelling in 2% of people, 4 weeks after treatment.

  • Mild skin tightness, dryness, peeling, skin thickening or thinning, mild swelling and altered sensation in up to 30% of people several years after treatment.

  • No palm sweating in 4% of people at 40 months.

  • Self-reported hand weakness, reduced nail health and skin darkening, each in 3% of people, at 31 months.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard