Non-surgical treatment for finger condition

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A MAN whose crippling hand condition has made it virtually impossible to do the simplest of tasks has had his fingers straightened without the need for surgery, thanks to a revolutionary new treatment.

Michael Gascoigne, 68, from Bradway, Sheffield, has suffered from Dupuytren’s disease for the past four years – a creeping hand disease which causes one or more of the fingers to bend in towards the palm. The disabling disease, which eventually prevents sufferers from being able to control their fingers, is more common in men over 50.

But Mr Gascoigne is one of the first people in Yorkshire to benefit from a revolutionary new drug, Xiapex, which avoids the need for surgery and a lengthy period of physiotherapy. The new treatment is being offered by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at The Sheffield Hand Centre, based at the Northern General Hospital.

Treatment involves attending two half-hour outpatient clinics where patients receive four quick injections, three at the first visit, one at the second. The fingers are eased back into place at the second visit. The alternative surgery can last up to two hours.

Mr Gascoigne said: “I’ve suffered with curly fingers for the past three or four years. I just started to notice little awkward things like I was putting my hand in my pocket and all the coins would drop on the floor.

“I’d avoid shaking hands with people, too, as I wouldn’t be able to let go. The treatment was phenomenally good. I was in the outpatients’ clinic for five to ten minutes and the next day I could straighten my fingers again. Job done.”

The treatment is currently being offered by Gill Rose and Stephen Bostock, specialist hand consultants at the Northern General Hospital on a trial basis – with around 20 patients benefiting to date. Studies show two-thirds of people who have had this treatment could almost fully straighten their fingers again.