According to a story from Telegraph & Argus, 56 year old Andrew Johnson is getting an innovative new procedure that is offered on the UK’s NHS in order to relieve symptoms from Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that affects the hands. Previously, patients were forced to wait until the severity of their condition worsened, and the only available treatment option was a surgical operation on the hand. The new treatment, called Xiapex, provides a more convenient option for patients who need urgent relief to restore hand function.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that causes the fingers to become bent permanently in a flexed position. The ring finger is often affected first. The first symptom to appear may be hard nodules under the skin of the palm. Typically, the middle and little fingers are next affected, and their may be a dull, aching pain present. It most commonly occurs in white males over age 50. The connective tissue in the hand forms in an abnormal manner. Risk factors include thyroid issues, smoking, alcoholism, prior hand injury, liver disease, diabetes, family history, and epilepsy. Steroid injections, surgery, and physical therapy are common treatments, but the condition can recur. The Dupuytren’s contracture can significantly inhibit normal hand use. To learn more about Dupuytren’s contracture, click here.
The Xiapex procedure involves a simple injection into the hand that contains an enzyme that is able to dissolve the abnormal, stiffened connective tissue. After a period lasting a few days, the physician essentially snaps the connective tissue, allowing normal movement of the fingers once more. The outcomes with this treatment are far superior to surgery, which often required frequent physical therapy, could cause severe scarring, and often required a period of nearly three months of recovery. It also costs substantially less than surgery.
Russ Jeffers, who is the Consultant Hand Surgeon at Bradford Hospital where Andrew received Xiapex, says that the new treatment is a significant breakthrough. Generally, feedback from patients following the procedure has also been overwhelmingly positive.
Take Andrew’s word for it:
“I would recommend it to anyone who has the same condition as I’ve had.”