American Society for Surgery of the Hand presents the story of a world famous concert pianist, Misha Dichter, who lost the ability to play with his right hand and regained it after surgery. Misha, like his father, developed Dupuytren's disease in ...
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American Society for Surgery of the Hand Presents A Pianist Reborn: Misha Dichter Misha Dichter: I can’t live with my work, there were no options. Surgery was the only way in trying to get back what I had because I had lost everything. Caryl Johnson: His first question is, will I play again. I felt sure that that was certainly going to be true. I think that thing that was great about his recovery was that he began to realize somewhere in the middle of this that it was going to work. Scott Wolfe: I saw Mr. Dichter for his Dupuytren’s contracture of the small finger, but generally speaking most patients who have deficiencies, have it either in their ring finger or their small finger and so that’s where most of our efforts are centered and I will just illustrate on my hand what a typical patient would be like and that would be contracture of both the MP and the IP joints. It is called Dupuytren’s disease. It is a condition in which the normal fibrous architecture of the hand begins to contract and certain fingers are affected more than others. It begins in a sort of nodular phase and then it proliferates and then nodules sort of join hands, if you will, and the fingers slowly and insidiously contract down and sometimes people don’t notice it until they are really impaired in a normal daily task, maybe unbuttoning a button or putting your hand into your pocket at which point they feel their hand and feel there is a sort of thicken cord. Anyone can have Dupuytren’s disease, but generally speaking men have Dupuytren’s more than women. Generally third and fourth decades. The earliest you should see it, more common, sort of, in sixth decade of life and then there is a geographic variation. We see both genetic and geographic variations of the disease. Northern European people, Scandinavians, Ireland and interestingly Australia, rarely in Asian, less common in African Americans, but a distinct genetic predominance. The risk of loss of a digital nerve or a vessel can be catastrophic to anyone, but peculiar too on a lead athlete so pianist is there particular domain. Misha Dichter: If you use your hands and your hands has been part of your creative life to see them less than a 100%, you will know the pain as soon as you start to experience that and you have to deal with it soon and you can get it back. So if there is any suspicion that your hands are not functioning as you would want, there really is no reason not to seek out the best possible hand surgeon in your area and seek out two, seek out three, get their opinions and then find the one that you think you feel comfortable with and then totally entrust yourself to that person and if I stop playing tomorrow, I had an extra year-and-a-half of joy.

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