Rich loves working on his cars, but it became difficult when he developed Dupytren’s Disease. Dupytren’s disease, also known as Viking’s disease, is a connective tissue disorder. The disease causes thickening in the palm and can progress to create flexion contractures of the fingers. When contractures progress and create functional difficulty, action should be taken.
For Rich, the disease started in his right hand. “It wasn’t particularly painful it was just a nuisance. It was hard to shake people’s hands,” Rich said.
Seven years ago, when Rich was living on the west coast, he decided to have surgery on his right hand to release the tendons. “The surgery fixed the Dupytren’s … kind of. The surgery was very invasive and painful. I was in a wrap for almost a month and then I went to therapy for 3-4 months. The end result was my finger was straight but I couldn’t make a fist very well.”
Rich was frustrated with the surgical procedure and how long the recovery took. Since Dupytren’s isn’t particularly painful he decided to ignore the disease when it started to develop in his left hand.
When Rich went to see his primary care doctor, Dr. Letkomiller, for a routine check-up, she suggested that Rich go see Dr. Pater. “If it was going to be surgery again, I was not at all interested,’ Rich said. Nonetheless, Rich went to see Dr. Pater. “I had heard of alternative procedures [to surgery] and Dr. Pater explained all my options. I chose the Xiaflex injection and it was amazing.”
Dr. Pater explains, “The major breakthrough in the last few years in the treatment of Dupuytren’s is the use of Collagenase with the trade name of Xiaflex. This is a substance that is injected into the Dupuytren’s cord that breaks off the tissue of the cord. It takes just a few minutes to perform the injection in the office. The patient returns a day or two later to the office for manipulation of the cord and in most cases the finger immediately straightens. This method involves some bruising and swelling in the hand but recovery is rapid and the patient is allowed to return to normal activity very quickly. This can offer a great advantage over surgery in the ease of recovery and the simplicity.”
Rich couldn’t be more thrilled with Dr. Pater and his recommendation for Xiaflex. “There was no after-pain other than tenderness. I was using my hand like I used to the very next day,” Rich said. By the end of the week, Rich was working with wrenches on his car. Something he hadn’t been able to do in years.
If Rich had to rate his experiences they would be: “Amazing!”
Rich also added, “Dr. Pater is very straightforward and candid. I like that he gave me my options. I’ve already recommended him.”