Our hands help us solve everyday problems and live a comfortable life. But sometimes conditions like Dupuytren's contracture can prevent us from doing simple tasks like buttoning our pants or doing the dishes. Luckily, it's easy to diagnose and treat, with the help of a simple Xiaflex injection.
What is Dupuytren's Contracture?
Dupuytren's contracture is a hand condition characterized by curling of the fingers. It is caused by an overgrowth of natural connective tissue (collagen) under the palms. The overgrown tissue tightens and forces the fingers to curl in, limiting hand movement. Many sufferers don’t seek treatment for the discomfort until it has become a noticeable barrier to daily living. Common symptoms include:
- A lumpy growth running across the palm to the fingers
- Clenched fingers
Dupuytren's contracture is commonly treated with a variety of surgical and non-surgical procedures.
What Causes Dupuytren's Contracture?
There are no known causes of Dupuytren's contracture, but many experts believe it could result from genetic disorders. It happens when connective tissue cells produce excessive collagen protein. Some at-risk populations include:
- Men over 40.
- Patients with chronic medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
- Tobacco and alcohol users.
- Those with a family history of Dupuytren’s contracture
What are Xiaflex Injections?
Xiaflex is a prescription medicine containing enzymes that break down collagen. It is a relatively new non-surgical option for treating Dupuytren's contracture; Xiaflex disassembles the thickened cords of tissue, freeing your fingers. Orthopedists may prescribe it when they can feel the tell-tale lump between your palms.
How Does the Xiaflex Injection Procedure Work?
Xiaflex should be administered by a licensed orthopedic care provider. Your provider will feel for the cord in your palm and inject the medicine directly under your skin to break down the overgrown tissue. You might need to support your hand with a splint for at least four months after treatment. You will avoid activities that might strain your hand and practice finger exercises during the period. Remember to keep your providers' appointments, as they need to track your progress.
How Often Is Xiaflex Given?
The Xiaflex treatment cycle depends on the condition being treated. For Dupuytren's contracture, your orthopedist might administer 1-3 injections spread over four weeks. In the three days following your first injection, your provider will want to check your progress. If the cord still exists, they will try to break it by stretching your fingers. You will need a splint to support your hand during the period, and don't forget to do your daily finger exercises as prescribed by your provider.
You should always follow your provider's instructions and never miss an appointment without consulting them.
How Painful Is Xiaflex?
Treating Dupuytren contractures with Xiaflex can cause numbness and pain in the affected hand. However, the intensity differs between patients. Some patients experience immediate pain relief, while others have discomfort for up to 24 hours post-procedure.
How Long Does It Take Xiaflex to Work?
A Xiaflex injection schedule usually takes four weeks, usually requiring 2-3 visits After administering a Xiaflex injection, orthopedists will typically allow 24 hours for the Xiaflex to break down the collagen. Your provider will work with you to begin stretching your hand at the clinic 1-2 days after the injection.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Xiaflex?
Recovery is typically quick, and your provider may recommend returning to your usual activities after one week. It is usually safe to drive home from the provider’s office, and you'll likely need to avoid lifting heavy objects for at least three months. Your orthopedist will likely recommend wearing a splint at night and trying to keep your hand suspended during the first few days after treatment.
Beat Dupuytren's Contracture with the Alexander Outpatient Advantage
Alexander Orthopaedics guarantees first-rate medical care to all our patients through our world-class outpatient surgery centers. We provide the opportunity for quick and effortless recovery by applying modern treatment techniques.
Alexander Orthopaedics is the gold standard when it comes to orthopedic medicine, with proven expertise in hand and wrist surgery. Contact us today and discover how our orthopedic specialists can put life back into your hands.