The condition was in the two centre fingers of my hands leaving my index and pinkie fingers untouched and It did not bother me too much for the first five years with my fingers only curling slightly, I learned to adapt. I should point out that I am a professional Musician and Composer (Keyboard & Guitar) so "Adapting" was not a great option.
My hands got a lot worse over the next 5 years (as did my playing ability) and I resolved that I had to do something or I would be unable to play my instruments at all after a few more years. Having poured over all the information I could find on Dupuytren's Contracture (most seems to be on the web) I decided that despite the advise of Doctors and Australian Hand 'Specialist's to have the s tandard surgery procedure, I refused.
I had read the reports of operations gone wrong, nerve damage, recovery time, pain, and so on, and so I decided that I would rather "bite the bullet" and I funded a trip to the USA to Dr Eaton's Hand Surgery. The simple truth is that the 22 Hour Air Flight from Australia to Florida gave me far more discomfort than Dr Eaton's entire procedure did.
Arriving Jet Lagged at the surgery on the Thursday morning I was lead into a small annex room where my hand was washed with a sterile soap, Dr Eaton introduced himself and examined my hands making notes, and then marking small dots on my hands with a small pen - He also took the time to explain exactly what he was going to do using diagrams - after that Dr Eaton's Nurse took Photographs of my hands from the side and top, palm down and palm up and we were ready to get going.
DAY 1: Left Hand First - (this was my worse hand with my middle fingers curling and my thumb pulling into the centre)
I can honestly say that despite my nerves, with the exception of the "stinging" initial Anaesthetic Injections to numb my hand - the procedure was painless. Once my hand was numbed - I felt nothing. I admit to being a squeamish patient and so did not watch any of the treatment, but Dr Eaton's "bedside manner" was perfect and he chatted and joked with me throughout the 45 minute procedure.
At the end of the needle procedure he snapped my finger back (which made me wince a little - but I think most of that was Psychological) and my fingers 'popped' as the stubborn lesions snapped and the tendons were freed up. Before even looking, immediately I could feel that my fingers were now straightened and when I saw my hand laying almost "FLAT" on the table It was a huge moment for me - after a clean up and a few small plasters and an ice pack I was driving myself back to the hotel.
I experienced no pain once the anaesthetic wore off about 4 hours later with only some minor numbness in my thumb and index finger. The following morning when I awoke, the numbness had gone and my hand felt fine. I removed the plasters and apart from a little stiffness, some minor bruising, and a few small red needle marks, my hand was functioning normally again and I had no discomfort at all.
DAY 2: Right Hand - (Two middle fingers, my ring finger being the worst effected)
Once again the only part that was unpleasant was the initial injections - after that I felt little or nothing - less than an hour later and my right hand was also straight and I was able to lay it almost flat on the table. My right hand middle fingers had for a long time felt as though they were tied together with an elastic band, this is now completely gone and I am able to spread them and span them.
As far as I am concerned this is life changing stuff - I wouldn't hesitate to recommended that anyone with DC who is able to have this procedure done should do so, as it is simple, painless, fast, non-invasive, results are immediate, it is not surgery, infection risk is minimal, success rate is huge, and recovery time is practically instant.
If any Doctors are reading this - Why isn't this standard procedure? Why inflict painful surgery, with the danger of nerve damage, when a relatively simple procedure like this can be used? Since I have returned to Australia I have been to see my GP - I have shown him my repaired hands, shown him the photographs, explained to him how painless it all was. He was truly impressed - in fact he even called in another Doctor to come in and see it - he agreed that it was an amazingly simple procedure and agreed that it should be practiced here in Australia in place of Surgery.
To anyone with DC reading this and thinking about Needle Aponevrotomy - It Works - Find a Doctor who does it and get it done!
Me? I am able to play my guitars and keyboard again, better than ever.
Thank you Dr. Eaton.
Keep up the good web site Walt.
Steve Maher (11/28/2005)
After discovering that NA was available in Paris, I went to a different surgeon for a second opinion and discussed NA with her. She confirmed the earlier diagnosis and was unenthusiastic about NA. She had heard about it and said that she'd be concerned about the possibility of nerve damage. On your site and on the links you provide, I continued to follow the development of US capability and professional experience and the experiences of other patients.
On Monday of this week, I went from my home in Maryland to see Charlie Eaton in Florida. I underwent NA on two fingers of my left hand. He suggested that my feet would likely improve on their own with time. The results on my hand have been similar to yours and those of the others. I found Dr. Eaton to be knowledgeable, thorough, skilled, and congenial, and I'm simply delighted and relieved with the result.
Many thanks to you for your Web site which I credit for finding this alternative.
I returned on the following Monday,Dec 1, and he finished the other finger. This finger (the little one) was much more work and when he started he had some reservations about the outcome as the nuckle had been inactive for so long. However, at the end he was very satisfied as it turned out great. I took the bandage off yesterday and the finger is about 95 % straightened. The finger is still slightly bruised and slightly swollen and he said that as the swelling goes down it will get even better.
So all in all,it was a wonderful experience and I certainly enjoyed meeting Dr Badois. He is such a nice person that my wife and I left thinking we had known him for years. This was our third trip to Paris and we had another great time - going to the Moulin Rouge, Pasteur Museum,and Mont Marc.
Walt, I want to thank you once again for CD and especially your work on the forum -without that I would never have known of this procedure.
It truly is amazing how simple and effective the NA technique is. It really struck me last night at a graduation function when we applauded for the graduates, I instinctively clapped my hands, but there was this noise coming from them I hadn't hear in a long time. It was the first time in years I was able to clap my hands normally! O' the joy of simple pleasures!
Thank you and may God bless you.
"Hi Walt: I recalled talking with you re my upcoming needle procedure. It went very well. Had it done with Dr. Ramaekers in Brussels, and took about 20 minutes (stage 2). She said I would be playing hockey the following week, and 1 week later to the day, played hockey (scored 2 goals).
Met a fellow Canadian in the Dr.'s office from B.C., and he looked like he was at level 4. Unfortunately, he had already had two hand operations in Canada, and the nodules had returned. If he contacts me, I will have him give you a shout.
All is well here. Pity that no doctor in our country does this procedure. It certainly would be much more convenient and a lot cheaper.
Regards, Terry." (3/11/2002)
"I had surgery two weeks ago on left little finger. The finger went from 0 to 90 degrees in the 11 months prior to surgery. The surgery lasted 1 1/2 hrs and I left the hospital 3 hours afterwards. Two advil every 6 hrs. took care of any discomfort. After two days I stopped taking the Advil. The whole ordeal was a pleasant surprise compared to what I read on various websites.
I get the stitches out tomorrow. I have been driving since three days after surgery. I can lay hand flat on table now and can bend to 45 degrees without pain. I will continue to work on greater flexibility in future. Surgeon doesn't expect recurrance, but said it is possible.
Surgeon : Dr. Mark Buehler, Providence Hospital, Portland, OR.
I did want to say that your website with links has been very helpful for me. At one time About 30 degrees), during the contraction of my finger, I was just going to try to live with the condition. The contraction progressed so fast to a point that I had no choice but surgery. The surgeon (Dr. Buehler) does only hand surgery and sees DC several times a week. He was highly recommended to me by an attorney friend and I wasn't disappointed. Thank you and continue the good work.
Gary Evans, (1/30/2002)
"I had needle aponevrotomy performed on both hands in mid October 2001. The procedure was done by Dr. Badois in Paris. I couldnít be happier with the ease of the procedure or the results, and recommend it highly. Special thanks to Walt Stagner, whose web site and videotape almost single handedly convinced me that this was the only reasonable treatment for this problem. I will undoubtedly be getting this treatment numerous times because I have a particularly aggressive case of DC (from nonexistent to stage 2 in 9 months.) Itís exactly 3 months since I had the needle treatment and the pinky on my left hand is already visibly bending. Had I undergone surgery and had it return this quickly, Iíd have been one very angry patient. Below is what I wrote right after getting back from Paris, giving a detailed description of the procedure:
I had two appointments with Dr. Badois recently. The first one I was in there for less than 45 minutes and this included much chitchat before and after the procedure. I had stage 2 DC in my right hand, ring finger and pinky - with most of the cords growing in the palm. He gave me two injections of lidocaine in the palm - all I felt was a small prick as you do with a needle. He waited about 2 minutes and then went to work with the same needle. I didn't watch because he wanted me to be totally relaxed with the hand limp and I thought seeing someone dig around in my hand with a needle might make me a bit tense. My hand was completely numb. I didn't feel anything.
He told me if I felt an electric shock to let him know IMMEDIATELY because that meant he was touching a nerve. It never happened. He sawed away with the same small needle he used for the lidocaine in 3 places in the palm, then (warning me ahead of time), jerked my fingers back a bit to break the cords. That hurt, but only momentarily. He lightly bandaged my palm, leaving my fingers free. When the feeling returned to my hand about an hour later, I had no pain whatsoever.
I was amazed - I figured the hand would throb. The hand has to stay dry for 3 days so I stuck it in a plastic bag with a rubber band around the wrist when I showered. When I took the bandage off, there were no signs of where the needle had entered, only some bruising in the palm. It was slightly tender, but no big deal - I did everything with it that one needs to do when you're right handed.
The right hand was done on Thursday. I went back on Monday to get the other hand done. The pinky on my left hand was also a stage two. He warned me that it would never be perfectly straight, but that he could improve it a lot. He followed the same procedure. It hurt slightly, where the other hand didn't. He said that the cords in the fingers are more difficult to deal with than those in the palms, and the pinky is particularly sensitive. It throbbed a bit the first night, but no big deal. It's been a week and a day now and it is still quite bruised. I'm very happy with the results and the ease of the procedure. My right hand is almost completely flat, my left pinky is still slightly bent, but greatly improved."
Regards, Kristin Metzger (1/18/2002)
I e-mailed you a while ago about my intended visit to Francois Badois for my Dupuytrens Contracture. Well I returned from France a week ago and am thrilled with the results. Three sessions: first on three fingers of my right hand, then 5 days later on two fingers of my left hand and finally, 7 days later, cleanup on both hands.
No complications and almost completely flat hands have returned. I had advanced stage 3 and Dr Badois expressed doubt that I would be happy with the results when I e-mailed him pictures of my hands. I am so glad that I persuaded him to treat me.
He told me that this was the first time he had treated three fingers in one session.
My sister, who lives in Paris came along to help in communications and most of the time while he was treating me he and she were chatting away with some small input from me. We did more laughing than anything else. The whole thing was an enjoyable experience!! (except for the bending and snapping that was a bit painful, though brief.)
I would certainly recommend this treatment to anyone with D.C. Dr Badois did mention that someone is training at McGill University in Montreal in needle aponevretomy. It's about time.
Regards, Bill Vaughan (1/4/2002)
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