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Editors at the Journal of Hand Surgery have recognised the Furniss Group with an award for the best paper published in the Journal in 2022. The Editor’s Award recognises research with scientific importance, outstanding study stringency, and a high academic standard.

Dupuytren's disease of the hand © SHUTTERSTOCK

The paper entitled: ‘The association of bariatric surgery and Dupuytren’s disease: a propensity score-matched cohort study,’ explored whether there was a link between obesity and Dupuytren’s, a painful condition of the hand caused by contraction of the fingers.

Previous epidemiological and genetic studies had shown Dupuytren’s disease (DD) is only one of a few diseases where obesity is found to have a protective effect against the disease. But a lack of data meant that monitoring the impact of weight loss hadn’t yet been yet undertaken.

Researchers from Oxford, Sweden and Switzerland collectively analysed health data from patients who had undergone bariatric surgery in Sweden.

‘The immediate and sustained weight loss in patients following bariatric surgery gave us accurate measurements for modelling the incidence of Dupuytren’s disease,’ said Dominic Furniss, Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. ‘We saw a 30% increased relative risk of Dupuytren’s following weight loss, the number being higher in women.’

‘The effect of bariatric surgery on development of DD takes several years to manifest,’ said Theresa Burkard, Postdoctoral Data Scientist at NDORMS. ‘So the availability of a large, population-based dataset enabled us to retrospectively compare patients who had undergone bariatric surgery against those unexposed to treatment over a period of 13 years.’  

Jennifer Lane, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at NDORMS said: ‘Obesity is a serious health concern that increases the risk of many other health conditions and weight loss continues to be recommended to patients. But our research provides further evidence of the relationship between body weight and the risk of developing Dupuytren’s, that helps both clinicians and scientists who treat patients with the condition.’ 

In recognition of their achievement, the group will present their winning paper at the Federation of European Societies for the Surgery of the Hand (FESSH) Congress in May 2023.