Promising New Treatment to Straighten Out Dupuytren's DiseaseDupuytren's disease happens when the tissues in the palm of the hand shorten. The tissues eventually get so tight that they pull the ring and pinky finger down so they can't fully straighten. For the most part, surgery has been one of the only successful ways to correct Dupuytren's disease. Unfortunately, the problem commonly returns after surgery. The surgery process, to many people, is time-consuming and painful, and there is a long time before they get back normal use of the hand.
Researchers are doing clinical trials of an enzyme called collagenase to treat Dupuytren's disease. Collagenase is injected into the contracted joint, where it breaks down the tight tissue. A day after the injection, a doctor can more easily stretch the fingers, causing the tight cord of tissue to rupture. This allows the fingers to regain movement and straighten out. A splint is usually then worn for four months to keep the fingers stretched out.
The injections worked within a month for up to 90% of them. There were no serious side effects, even for people who needed more than one injection. Further clinical trials are planned. If all goes well, doctors may soon have a successful nonsurgical treatment for Dupuytren's disease.
Marie A. Badalamente, PhD, et al. Collagen as a Clinical Target: Nonoperative Treatment of Dupuytren's Disease. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2002. Vol. 27A. No. 5. Pp. 788-798.
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