Cooper University Hospital hand surgeons Yuan Y. Liu, MD; David A. Fuller, MD; and Adam D. Perry, MD, are performing a breakthrough procedure to help treat patients with Dupuytren’s disease.
Dupuytren’s disease is an abnormal thickening and contracture of the tissue just below the skin of the palm of the hand. Too much collagen can build up, forming thick, rope-like cords of tissue that can prevent the fingers from being able to relax and straighten normally.
The FDA recently approved Xiaflex®, the first minimally invasive treatment for Dupuytren’s disease. Collagenase, a biologically active enzyme, is injected to break down scar tissue formed during the progression of the disease. The treatment for Dupuytren’s disease has traditionally been surgical and required the excision or release of the palmer fascia. Traditional surgery involves a number of incisions, a long recovery, and in many cases, physical therapy.
“Xiaflex is intended to dissolve the diseased tissue, rather than cut it out,” says Dr. Fuller, Director, Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, Cooper’s Bone and Joint Institute. “If the injections are effective, surgery may not be necessary.”
“ This is a much better option for many patients,” adds Dr. Liu, Attending Surgeon, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Assistant Director, Plastic Surgery Fellowship. “ We have hope that this medical break through will return t he use of a person’s hand before the contracture results in loss of function.”
In clinical studies done with Xiaflex, 44 percent to 64 percent of patients who received the injections had a straight or near-straight finger after up to three sessions. Rare side effects may include tendon rupture or ligament damage, nerve injury, or allergic reactions.