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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
johnross A hand surgery question? (22) RE: A hand surgery question? 30 Mar 05

Bob, I'm not sure it's exactly the same condition, but I've got Dupuytren's Contracture on my left hand. It causes one or more fingers to curl toward the palm.

As it has been explained to me, it occurs because the connective tissue under the skin is develops a nodule that reduces the finger's ability to extend. The standard surgical treatment is to open up the finger and cut the contracted tissue so the finger can return to full extension.

I've not heard of a procedure like the one you describe, so you might be facing a completely different condition. A web search on "dupuytrens contractor CMC arthritis" doesn't get any hits.

There's an alternative procedure called Needle Aponevrotomy that involves using needles rather than opening the whole finger. It's a lot less invasive, and the recovery time is much quicker. It was developed in France, and there are only few hand specialists in North America who use it. It appears to be more common than it was when I first started paying attention a few years ago, but many hand surgeons seem to reject it as "not invented here". I'm hoping that it will be more accepted by the time I need to do something about my own hand.

Our friend Utah Phillips has had Dupuytren's in both of his hands. He was scheduled to have surgery on the second hand about a week after he was in Seattle for the 2004 Folklife Festival. As far as I know, he has been able to play his guitar after the surgery and some physical therapy. I don't know if every treatment is as successful as Utah's was.

Bob, if you want to talk about this, feel free to telephone. I think you have my number.

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