OrthoConnecticut

Joe SassanoThe condition: When Joe Sassano noticed that the fingers in his left hand had started to lack mobility and became slightly claw-like, he knew right away it was time to consult an orthopedic hand surgeon. Joe, age 70, is a passionate bass player who has been playing since age 11 and enjoys playing in a local band called “Decades,” around the Fairfield County. He knew that the condition would ultimately affect his ability to play if not treated right away.

The condition, called Dupuytrens Contracture, but often referred to as Vikings disease, is a genetic disease commonly found in people with Northern European lineage. It causes scarring growths on the fascia of the palm, causing the fingers to slowly cave in and form a claw-like position. However, the condition is painless, so many people do not realize it is happening until the restriction in their hand is quite noticeable.

The treatment: Fortunately, Joe knew the signs of the condition right away because he had developed it in his right hand three years earlier. At that time, he turned to Dr. John Lunt at The Hand Center at OrthoConnecticut, who initially attempted to treat the condition non-surgically, through a series of injections. However, while injection therapy has been successful on some patients, it did not work effectively enough for Joe, who ultimately opted for a surgical procedure. Dr. Lunt successfully operated on the hand and Joe eventually returned to full mobility.

This time around, Joe knew the signs and went to Dr. Lunt right away. He also knew he had several band gigs set up for mid-February that he couldn’t miss, so he needed to be fully healed by that time. He waited until right after the holidays, and underwent surgery on January 3rd.

“I drove four miles from my home in Brookfield to the OrthoConnecticut Surgical Center in Danbury, had surgery at 2 p.m., recovered, and was home by dinner time,“ Joe explains. He then underwent intensive post-surgery physical therapy at the same location. “The staff at the surgical center and at the P.T. office are just fantastic, and having these services so close to home made it easy to get to all of my appointments.

The result: Due to a combination of Dr. Lunt’s skill and Joe’s diligence with his physical therapy, three weeks to the date of his surgery, Joe attended band practice and was able to play. In fact, that evening he posted on his Facebook page, “Thanks to great work by hand specialist Dr. John Lunt and great post-op work by my very talented therapist Stephanie Tomaszewsky, I picked up my bass last night and played with no pain, no restrictions and great feel.”

“The surgery for Dupuytrens Contracture is relatively invasive, and recovery usually takes a couple of months,” commented Dr. Lunt. He attributes Joe’s amazingly rapid recovery to his positive outlook and dedication to his physical therapy after surgery, adding, “working with an experienced team of physicians and therapists also helps maximize the success of the surgery and minimize recovery time.”

Dr. Lunt recommends that people with this condition and other degenerative conditions seek treatment from a doctor as early as possible to ensure better surgical outcomes. “The longer patients wait, the more extensive surgery is required, with more trauma, resulting in longer recovery time,” he advises.


Disclaimer: Any prior results discussed in this site do not guarantee a similar outcome.