Dupuytren’s Contracture

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent from my brother-in-law, Tom, to family members and friends.  It might be interesting for others who have the same problem with their hands.   It was all news to me, and in the case of my brother-in-law, good news indeed:
“For the last 5 years I’ve had a condition called Dupuytren’s Contracture (pronounced doop-wee-trens).  Dupuytren’s is a common problem that develops most frequently after age 40.  It is more common in men, although women can also be affected.  It is usually hereditary, occurring in people of European and Western ancestry.  It is unusual in Asians or African-Americans.  Dupuytren’s usually starts as a painless nodule in the palm.  It can progress to fibrous cords extending into the fingers, most commonly ring and little.  These bands can cause contracture of the fingers.  It can progress slowly or rapidly.
 
There are two procedures to correct Dupuytren’s:  surgery, and Needle Aponeurotomy (also known as NA).  I know a few people who’ve had surgery and were not pleased with their results, which can include infection, long-term rehabilitation, permanent loss of feeling in the hand, and numbness in the fingers. 
 
My friend had Dupuytren’s in both hands:  they looked like claws.  He and Sandra did extensive research and found a practice in New Jersey which proved to be the best place to go for the NA procedure.  I saw him two weeks after NA was performed on both of his hands, and they are like new.  My wife and I drove to New Jersey on August 24 and I had the NA procedure at 4pm on August 25.  At 8:30 that evening, we were sitting at Carnegie’s in NYC having a pastrami sandwich.
 
The doctor injected a local anaesthetic into the palm of my right hand.  He then put about twelve small shots of cortisone into the sheath that covers the tendons below the base of my ring and small fingers.  He bent my fingers backwards and I could feel the tendons extending out to their natural length and positions.  It was not painful, it was over in less than 15 minutes.  My hand was back to normal almost instantly.  I still can’t believe it!
 
My GP had not known about the NA procedure and she was stunned when she saw my hand last week.  She has since told me that the few doctors in Ottawa who perform the surgical option are more and more reluctant to do so because of the less than positive results.  Surgery is done in Ottawa, NA is not.  There are a few Canadian doctors (Toronto, Edmonton & Vancouver) who perform the NA procedure, but the wait times are long.  Note:  OHIP will not cover elective procedures done in the US.
 
Dr. Gary Pess performed my NA procedure – –  see www.centraljerseyhand.com.
 
I paid cash, US$1,000:  best money I ever spent!
 Tom