"Here's the scoop, Walt. Edit as you wish, post if you feel it would be helpful. I have DC on my right hand only. I went to Dr. James Schwarten of Billings, MT tel 406-238-6540, 2900 12th Ave N, Suite 140 W, Billings, MT 59101.
My appointment was for January 7th for a simple "pre-op" visit, with surgery scheduled for the next morning. The surgery scheduled was for the full removal of all DC tissue. It was during that pre-op visit with him that I raised concerns about the invasiveness of such surgery, and that I was considering canceling the surgery. I mentioned the Paris technique, which he pled ignorant about. I also mentioned the Brussels "transverse cut" process.
At that point, he suggested that rather than do nothing, if I were interested, he would be willing to do some transverse incisions in the palm. He was manipulating the DC cords, and commented that they did not feel like they were attached to the skin, and that perhaps if they were cut through transversely, they would slip beneath the skin to allow almost full straightening of my fingers. He said it would take about 10 minutes, and he was willing to do it right away.
I told him to go ahead. He made 2-4 injections of local anesthetic in the palm of my hand, then using a scalpel, made three small incisions. On my ring finger, when he pressed down on it, we all were surprised to hear an audible "twang" as the cord let go. I had no sutures, I have no visible scarring, and every day, my hand feels more natural. It has now been 6 weeks, and I have absolutely no palmar discomfort and virtually full restoration of my hand. Certainly no cure, but it bought me time while we all wait to see what better treatments come out in the future.
Yes, there is still DC tissue present, but the cords in my hand are almost undetectable. I still do have DC lumps of tissue at the base of my two middle fingers (no pain or discomfort, look like huge callusses as they have for about 3 years now.) Bottom line: ask for alternatives. As Dr. Schwarten said to me, "If you don't like how this turned out, we can always still do the "big" surgery.
Total office visit was probably about 20 minutes- 5-8 minutes of discussion, 5 minutes scrubbing my hand with antibiotic soap while the nurse got the supplies ready, and about 10 minutes spent on the injections, the transverse cuts, and the bandaging up. Total cost was $1292. He charged $646 per finger. Because he was a preferred provider for my wife's insurance, our cost was my deductible ($200) plus 10% of the remainder, or a total of $309.
I was hanging sheet-rock 5 days later, and kept it up on and off for the next three weeks. No fatigue or trouble whatsoever.
Pictures are below.
a month after
Bob Thaden, (2/20/2002)
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