The association between echogenicity and progression of Dupuytren's disease (DD): Birth of an imaging biomarker?

Roel van Straalen, Michiel R. de Boer, Sanne Molenkamp, M. Maas, P. M. N. Werker, Dieuwke Broekstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: The shift of focus towards disease-controlling treatments to prevent DD progression at an early stage underlines the need for objective and reliable measurements that can monitor and predict the course of disease. Ultrasound has been studied as a potential tool for this purpose. This study examined to what extent echogenicity of early DD nodules predicts clinical progression.

METHODS: Sonographic assessments of Dupuytren's nodules were performed by the same observer on 151 participants as part of an ongoing prospective cohort study on the course of DD. Echogenicity was assessed by determining the greyness of a nodule relative to the surrounding tissue, using ImageJ software. Progression of disease was defined as 1) an increase in total passive extension deficit (TPED) of ≥15 degrees and 2) surgical intervention of the examined ray, both occurring after the sonographic assessment. The associations between echogenicity and time to progression were estimated using Cox-regression models.

RESULTS: The association between echogenicity and time to TPED progression showed that for every additional decrease of 1% in relative greyness (darker image) of a nodule, the risk of TPED progression during follow-up increases by 3.4% (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.966, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.935-0.966). Similarly, echogenicity was also associated with time to surgical intervention (HR = 0.967, 95% CI: 0.938-0.997), which indicates a higher risk for surgery during follow-up for darker nodules.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that echogenicity is predictive of the prognosis of the early stages of DD and might potentially be used as a prognostic imaging biomarker in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery
Early online date12-Sept-2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2023

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