Mercy Health's Orthopaedic Specialists Treat Function-Limiting Hand Disorder Dupuytren's Contracture With a Simple Injection

(CINCINNATI; February 18, 2014) – It’s freezing out but after struggling to get your hand through the sleeves of your shirt, sweater and jacket, it’s just too much to wrestle with your gloves. Such might be the thoughts this winter of men and women suffering from Dupuytren’s Contracture. The condition creates an abnormal buildup of naturally occurring collagen that forms a “cord” in the palm that thickens and tightens, pulling a finger or fingers toward the palm in an unstraightenable bend. Imagine Spiderman getting ready to shoot a web and you’ll have an idea of what Dupuytren’s Contracture resembles.

The genetic condition affects 3.5 percent of the population, particularly those of German and northeast European heritage, and more men than women. It typically worsens with time, increasing the bend in the affected finger(s), and is more likely to occur as one ages.

Mercy Health, which provides advanced, compassionate, quality care in your neighborhood through its care network, notes that Craig B. Willis, MD, Medical Director of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery for Mercy Health Physicians, has treated nearly 100 patients with this condition successfully with injections. Dr. Willis was among the first physicians in Cincinnati to offer the injection procedure rather than surgery to treat function-limiting Dupuytren’s Contracture. Also treating the condition are hand, wrist and elbow specialists Robert C. Rhoad, MD and James P. Plettner, MD of Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine, a Mercy Health Partner.

“Previously, doctors treated Dupuytren’s Contracture with a complicated surgical procedure requiring up to eight weeks of recovery and therapy,” says Dr. Willis. “Thanks to medical advances, we can now release the grip of the collagen ‘cord’ with an injection. This effective approach lowers the risk of infection, reduces pain and healing time and is a less costly option than surgery. Patients also need little if any physical therapy and can return to full activity in as little as 14 days.”

Results from the injections approach that of surgery and Dr. Willis notes that most patients with Dupuytren’s Contracture can benefit from the injections. Based on his experience using both methods, Dr. Willis reports that patient satisfaction is higher following the injection procedure than after surgery.

Dr. Willis practices from Mercy Health - Fairfield Orthopaedics and Spine, located at 3050 Mack Road, Suite 200, ZIP 45014; Mercy Health – Kenwood Orthopaedics and Spine, located at 4750 East Galbraith Road, Suite 105, ZIP 45236 and Mercy Health - West Orthopaedics and Spine, located at 3301 Mercy Health Blvd., Suite 450, ZIP 45211. Call 513-981-HAND (513-981-4263) to learn more about him or to schedule an appointment.

Drs. Rhoad and Plettner practice from Anderson - Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, located at 7575 Five Mile Road, Cincinnati, ZIP 45230, 513-232-6677; Blue Ash - Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, located at 4701 Creek Road, Cincinnati, ZIP 45242, 513-733-8894 and Eastgate - Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, 4440 Glen-Este Withamsville Road, Cincinnati, ZIP 45245, 513-753-7488. Dr. Rhoad also practices from West Chester - Wellington Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, located at 8737 Union Centre Drive, West Chester, ZIP 45069, 513-645-2220.

Returning every patient to normal function as quickly, compassionately and safely as possible is the goal of Mercy Health’s Orthopaedics, Spine and Sports Medicine team. Together with physical therapists and trainers, they provide comprehensive orthopaedic care for the foot and ankle, hand, wrist and elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, neck, back, joint replacement and sports-related concussion.

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