Avera Medical Minute ASL: Giving patients a better grip on life - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute ASL: Giving patients a better grip on life

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Al Hoerth takes a swing, something that would have been impossible a few months ago Al Hoerth takes a swing, something that would have been impossible a few months ago
What would you do if you woke up one day and couldn't use your hands? Well, for one Aberdeen man that became a scary reality.

“Well first of all I'm not a golfer, I just enjoy playing golf.” Said Al Hoerth.

Getting a round of 18 holes in is a perfect day for Al Hoerth, but over the years he noticed a growing problem with his hands.

“My major finger that was bad was my ring finger on my left hand and my middle finger on the left-hand. It just felt like this and then not be left alone the little one got involved too.” said Hoerth

His hands were contracting, making it impossible to grip a club. The condition forced him to leave the links behind and get checked by Dr. James Mantone. X-rays revealed Al had a condition called Dupuytren's Contracture.

“It's not the joint, it's the tissues around the finger that gets stuck. It's this palmar fascia tissue, the cord of the fascia tissue.” said Dr. Mantone.

Typically it's not painful, but it leaves people like Al unable to do many of the simple things we often take for granted. You might think correcting the condition would require surgery, but it's actually much simpler than that.

“Instead of the larger, bigger surgeries that we used to do with incisions or large grafts or other things that they would require to completely resect the cord, we can just inject into sites on the palm and then rupture it without having to do those larger incisions or surgical procedures.” said Dr. Mantone.

Instead Al had what's called a Xiaflex procedure. Dr. Mantone injected certain points on Al's hand with a compound that breaks up the damaged tissue. His hand then swells over night, so the next day Dr. Mantone can fix the contracture.

“Then what he did then, he pushed on each one of those places and you could feel a little snap.” said Hoerth.

It sounds painful but Al's hand is numbed while the tissues are literally broken up.

”We just manipulate the finger to crack it open and release the tissue we also kind of push along the cord and it just kind of popcorn cracks dissolves and it's like this and then it's straight, the same moment from when we start to when we're done it's very nice and very gratifying for the patient.” said Dr. Mantone.

“It's not magic but it's real close!” said Hoerth.

The relief is almost instantaneous as the range of motion is restored to the hand. The rehab isn't too difficult either as patient's just do the daily tasks that were taken by the condition. 

“They are in a splint to keep it extended and then we just have them start working and moving their hands. So it's between a month to three months that we have them working on stuff to maintain that duration and result of function comes over time depending on the severity.” said Dr. Mantone.

So for Al, he doesn't have to refer to the life of a caddy. He can step up to the tee and fully enjoy the game he loves.

“Am I happy about the results? Yes, has it improved my game? No!” said Hoerth.

Even so, it's safe to say this procedure is still a hole-in-one. In most cases, Dupuytren's Contracture runs in families of Norwegian descent and affects more men than women. Again, it's not typically painful. It just makes life a little more difficult. For more information about the Xiaflex procedure just call 877-AT-AVERA.

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