You use your hands every day. So, it can be quite alarming when you start to feel pain and discomfort or find your fingers curling in on themselves. Many patients with Dupuytren’s Contracture know that stress all too well. The slow progression of symptoms make Dupuytren’s Contracture easy to ignore until your fingers have contracted to the point where it’s hard to use your hands.
But a new treatment is offering those with Dupuytren’s Contracture a new and non-surgical pathway back to normal.
What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s Contracture (known medically as palmar fibromatosis) is a chronic hand condition that can cause discomfort and loss of mobility. For most people, Dupuytren’s will develop slowly and over time.
Usually, the first noticeable symptom of Dupuytren’s is a small lump or bump around the palm of the hand. Over a series of months or years, this lump may grow, eventually resembling a kind of “knotted cord” beneath the skin of the palm. Most patients describe the cord as what they imagine a tendon beneath the skin might look and feel like (to be clear, this is not actually a tendon–it just seems like it).
This knot of tissue is caused by a gradual thickening of fascia beneath the skin, though the root cause of this thickening is not precisely known. Eventually, Dupuytren’s can cause several of the fingers–especially those furthest from the thumb–to contract painfully. This can be exceptionally alarming for those with Dupuytren’s, especially if they aren’t aware of the cause. The distress can become more profound as everyday tasks become challenging or impossible to perform.
But it’s important to remember that Dupuytren’s Contracture is very treatable. For those in areas around Vermillion, Yankton, and Norfolk, NE, orthopedic services for Dupuytren’s are available.
A New, Non-Surgical Treatment for Dupuytren’s
Traditional treatments for Dupuytren’s contracture typically involve physical therapy or surgery. While those treatments are effective, they do have some drawbacks that keep patients away. Surgery, for example, can successfully mitigate many of the symptoms of Dupuytren’s, but many patients don’t wish to experience the discomfort associated with recovery or are generally reluctant to undergo surgical procedures.
Xiaflex Injectable Treatment
That’s why Yankton Medical Clinic’s orthopedic services are offering a new, injectable Dupuytren’s treatment called Xiaflex. Administered by Dr. Ressig for her palmar fibrosis patients, Xiaflex works by chemically breaking down the chemical bonds within the lump of tissue that causes Dupuytren’s symptoms. Once injected, physical manipulation is used to break down the cords beneath your skin.
The hand is then placed in a sling and immobilized for at least a week. Once that week is over, the hand can be free during the day and placed in the sling at night.
This approach has several advantages:
- Xiaflex treatment is repeatable. If the Dupuytren’s has not been resolved after the first treatment, additional treatments can be scheduled in intervals of 30 days.
- Recurrence rates are low. Clinical studies show that Duputyren’s symptoms return in only 5% of those who undergo Xiaflex injections.
- There’s no surgical recovery. Patients are able to avoid any possible complications that might arise from surgery.
- Xiaflex is fast and easy. Patients can visit, for example, our Yankton orthopedic clinic and have their treatment resolved within an hour.
That said, surgery may still be a good option for those who cannot afford the week of decreased mobility required by Xiaflex–farmers and laborers, for example. But the discovery and rollout of a non-surgical treatment option means that more people can find relief from their Dupuytren’s symptoms. And that means more people than ever can get back to their daily lives.
You Don’t Have to Live with Dupuytren’s
Once Dupuytren’s is treated, your hand function will generally return to normal. You’ll be able to flex your fingers and easily pick up a glass of water or brush your teeth. Once you have full mobility of your hand back, you might realize just how much Dupuytren’s was interfering with your life.
And for a wide majority of patients, all it could take is a simple injection.
If you want to discuss your Dupuytren’s Contracture or Xiaflex treatment with Dr. Ressig, contact our offices today to schedule a consultation.