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Dupuytren's contracture: How Xiaflex® works

Dupuytren's contracture: How Xiaflex® works

Happy New Year from the team at Carl N. Williams, Jr. M.D. Hand and Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada! For our patients struggling with the decision to have hand surgery for Dupuytren’s contracture, we have good news. 

Thanks to advances in medical treatments, surgery is no longer your only option. Dr. Williams offers injectable Xiaflex® as a minimally invasive therapy for treating Dupuytren’s contracture to eligible patients. Here’s how Xiaflex can help restore function to your hand. 

Understanding Dupuytren’s contracture

Your hands contain a fibrous connective tissue called fascia. This thick tissue protects the important nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and muscles in your hands and provides stabilization to your skin. 

When you have Dupuytren’s disease, the fascia cells develop abnormally, causing it to thicken and form cord-like structures and hard nodules or bumps. Over time, these growths thicken and contract, causing your fingers to bend toward your palm. 

Because the tissue isn’t flexible, it can make it impossible to straighten your fingers. This is called Dupuytren’s contracture, and it can make it difficult to carry out normal activities and motions. 

While the cause of Dupuytren’s contracture isn’t fully understood, medical researchers believe genetics plays a key role. Other risk factors include:

Dupuytren’s contracture does not improve on its own and generally worsens over time. For this reason, it’s better to seek treatment early. 

About nonsurgical Xiaflex

Xiaflex is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical therapy that treats Dupuytren’s contracture. This injectable treatment uses enzymes that break down the collagen in the abnormal fascia tissues. 

Because the enzymes are specially selected, they only affect the tissues with Dupuytren’s disease, leaving the healthy tissues unharmed. Dr. Williams injects the medicine under your skin directly into the cords.

He checks on your progress a day or so after each injection, and it’s important that you keep this appointment. Depending on your symptoms and your body’s response to treatment, you may need up to four treatment cycles, consisting of one to three injections, each about four weeks apart.  

You can resume most normal activities in about a week. You can expect to support the affected hand with a splint or brace at night for several weeks or months following the injection. You also need to avoid engaging in activities that strain your hand while the injection works on your Dupuytren’s contracture. 

You receive specific instructions for after your injection. If you have any questions, you can call our offices at any time for extra help. 

Candidates for Xiaflex for Dupuytren’s contracture

Dr. Williams reviews your medical history and assesses your symptoms to create a personalized treatment plan for you. Most patients with Dupuytren’s contracture are candidates for this injectable treatment, although patients with advanced or severe Dupuytren’s disease may require hand surgery. 

In addition, patients allergic to ingredients in the medication, those who are on blood thinners, and people with compromised immune systems may not be candidates.

 If you’re interested in learning whether Xiaflex is the right treatment for your Dupuytren’s contracture, schedule a consultation online or over the phone with Carl N. Williams, Jr. M.D. Hand and Plastic Surgery today.

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