Dupuytren “frozen hand” Xiaflex Procedure
By Kiely Ziegler, MD
Q. My father’s hand has become “frozen” in a bent position. What causes this, and is there anything we can do?
A. It sounds like your father may have Dupuytren’s contracture. This is a condition in which the hand’s connective tissues thicken and tighten, pulling the fingers into a curved position. Doctors don’t know what causes
Dupuytren’s contracture. Some researchers have speculated that it may be associated with an autoimmune reaction, where a person’s immune system attacks its own body tissues. Dupuytren’s contracture is usually painless but leads to weakness in the hand and difficulty gripping objects, which can make daily tasks progressively more frustrating. In the past, treatment for severe cases involved painful surgery and a six month recovery. Today, we offer a much simpler, advanced treatment called Xiaflex injection.
Xiaflex is a collagen enzyme designed to dissolve the damaged tissues. Doctors inject Xiaflex into the hand with no anesthetic needed. A day later, using a mild numbing medicine for comfort, we manually stretch out the hand, returning fingers to their natural position. In just two to three weeks, the hand regains its normal strength and flexibility.
There is no cure for Dupuytren’s, and in many cases the condition will return, whether within a few years or decades. So for some people, repeat treatments may be necessary. That’s why we’re so excited to offer this non-invasive Xiaflex procedure, which is a much gentler option than surgery.
If you or someone you care for has Dupuytren’s contracture, talk to your primary care provider
about a referral to Asante Physician Partners Orthopedic and Sports Medicine clinic.