Patients at Essex Orthopaedics Give Bilateral Hand Surgery a Thumbs Up
Essex Orthopaedics’ Surgeons Perform Unique Surgery Offering Tremendous Benefits
What happens, however, if you are unable to use your hands due to carpal tunnel syndrome or trigger thumb? That’s when a second set of hands - namely those of the doctors at Essex Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Salem - comes in “handy,” as two patients discovered.
Dr. Crawford C. Campbell (bowtie) and Dr. Joshua M. Philbrick utilized a procedure - Bilateral Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release - to address carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger thumb in two patients. The procedure is unique in that it is one procedure to address both hands at once, and Dr. Campbell and Dr. Philbrick are believed to be the only two hand surgeons in the area offering it. The benefits – one surgery, one time out of work, one recovery period.
Still, Kathy Vass, 72, said she was nervous about doing two hands at once and said her friends and family thought she was crazy. With no strength in her hands at all due to the carpal tunnel syndrome, however, Vass decided, “I’m going to go for it.”
Even though she was referred to Essex Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine by her primary care physician, Lisa Lafontaine, 56, had similar reservations as Vass about doing two hands at the same time. She is happy with her decision to do it, however. “You’re going to have to do it anyway so you might as well do them both at once because if you don’t, you will just keep putting off the other one.”
According to Dr. Campbell, Bilateral ECTR involves the release of the transverse carpal ligament endoscopically, which is minimally invasive, as a single surgical incident. The entire procedure takes about an hour, including the surgery itself, which is about 10 minutes per side, prep time and patient positioning. The entire bilateral procedure is done as an outpatient under local anesthesia with sedation. Post-operatively, the hands can be used for light activities immediately with dressings removed in 36 hours. Patients can drive a car 1-2 days post op. No splinting or physical therapy is required in the vast majority of cases.
Lafontaine had both carpal tunnel and trigger thumb in both hands, resulting in numbness and absolutely no strength in her grip. She watches her granddaughter, and found it hard to even undo her granddaughter’s car seat. She had the Bilateral ECTR surgery and for 36 hours had dressings on both hands. “At 10 days I had my stiches out, and after that, it was smooth sailing,” said Lafontaine. Three weeks later she drove her trike at Bike Week. Today she pursues any activity she wishes, including motorcycle riding and fishing – not to mention the car seat is no longer a problem.
Prior to Vass’ surgery, she had tingling in her arms that kept her up at night and was very uncomfortable. She had no strength in her hands at all, unable to even lift a gallon of milk or pour water in the coffee pot. She could not believe the results of the surgery. “In my case, doing both hands simultaneously was perfect. I was on my own in three days. It was unbelievable, the change. Now I’m doing everything I’ve always done, including gardening and playing with my dog,” said Vass.
“This is a safe, effective and less costly way to treat bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome,” said Dr. Philbrick. In terms of cost, Dr. Philbrick explained that this technique saves everyone money. For insurers, the surgeon is compensated 50 percent less for the second procedure, and there is only one facility fee. For patients, there is only one deductible and one co-payment and only one time out of work. And the benefits go far beyond cost.
“I have been offering Bilateral ECTR for over 5 years, with more than 200 cases done in this manner, with very high patient satisfaction,” said Dr. Campbell.
“I’m so grateful that I ended up at Essex Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine and that I did it all at once. It was great,” said Lafontaine.
“It’s the difference between night and day,” said Vass.
For more information, visit them at: http://www.essexortho.net/