My Experience with Xiaflex and its Usage for Dupuytrenís


Allow me to begin by saying that I was born with extreme poor vision and suffered with glasses and contact lenses all my life. When I got Lasex Surgery ten years ago it felt like a miracle just waking up in the morning, opening my eyes and seeing clearly.


About the age of 30 (Iím now 57) I began to suffer from knuckle pads and for the last ten years Dupuytrenís Contracture on the palm of my hands. Itís felt like my hands had been in gloves, that I wasnít really able to move them freely. I had a couple of surgeries, but the scar tissue that developed only seemed to exacerbate the condition, and the condition reoccurred.


I contacted Dr. Keith Denkler in Larkspur, California (near San Francisco) last year because he was the only doctor I could find who was using that French procedure that had been touted as more successful than surgery. But he advised me to wait until Xiaflex came out on the market this year. I returned to Dr. Denkler about two months ago to get the Xiaflex injection, which would dissolve the scar tissue without the need for more surgery. Apparently itís a derivative of gangrene that has been conditioned to dissolve only scar tissue. What a concept!


Although I havenít yet completed the process I can already see that this drug is miraculous. The bend in the middle finger of my right hand was 50 degrees before the procedure. Itís now at only 20 degrees. And Dr. Denkler assures me that that will show a marked improvement as well.


The numbing of the hand with Novocain was the most disquieting aspect of the procedure. The injections of Xiaflex were then painless. They did cause bruising and a sensation of aching that went up my arm for the first day. My hand felt quite sore for a week. And so I asked Dr. Denkler if we could postpone the ďhand manipulationĒ that would be the next step.


Over the course of the next few weeks I could feel a tearing sensation from time to time in the palm of my hand that was a bit painful. But Iím the kind of guy who would rather go into a cold swimming pool step by step than plunge in. So I preferred these little tearing sensations rather than breaking up the scar tissue all at one. 


I think it was about a month or five weeks after the injection when he numbed my hand again and then manipulated my hand to ďbreakĒ the scar tissue away from the muscles and tendons. It felt like he was cracking my knuckles. It was completely painless. In the following couple of weeks there was more stiffness and bruising, but I had a great deal of mobility, and the feeling of my hand being in a glove has begun to disappear.


It looks like Iíll need another injection on the right hand, and he may even have to cut away some of the scar tissue on my finger that developed as the result of the prior surgery that was so unsuccessful. Apparently Xiaflex dissolves scar tissue without injuring muscle or nerve tissue, but it has to be used carefully because it can damage tendons. (I think thatís what I was told.) In any case, I have a lump of scar tissue thatís too close to a tendon and has to be excised.


And then weíll move on to my left handÖ But Iím not worried anymore, because I can already see that Xiaflex is a medical marvel. Iím so grateful to live in an age where science can actually make a difference in my personal health issues. Iíve never really felt this optimistic before because so many of the typical problems I suffered from, like colds, flues and the like, havenít really been cured, only treated by modern medicine.


I would like to add that my insurance company, Anthem (formerly Blue Cross) was very willing to cover the cost of another surgery (about $20K) so long as I would cover my enormous deductible. But they refused to cover the cost of Xiaflex claiming it was a ďprofessional serviceĒ that wasnít covered by my plan. This is a perfect example of why I hate HMOís. Theyíre penny wise and dollar foolish, and then they raise my rates claiming the high cost of treatment today. I wish they would inject Xiaflex into the mind of my HMO to dissolve the scar tissue thatís impeding their good judgment.


Lastly, I recommend that you donít do the hand manipulation too soon after the injection. Just the thought of getting more Novocain injected into my hand soon afterwards sent chills up my spine. Once the hand had settled down, it was so much easier to receive the Novocain and then have Dr. Denkler do the breaking up of the scar tissue.


If youíd like to contact me personally, you can reach me at strawbarrytree /at/ comcast . net .