Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 11, 2013

Surgeon from Ashland treats hand ailment without surgery

AKRON, Ohio — It is likely most have never heard of Dupuytren’s disease and can neither spell it nor pronounce it. But for those suffering from the hand disease, such simple tasks turning a doorknob, brushing teeth or even shaking someone’s hand can be difficult, painful and sometimes impossible.

But a plastic surgeon who is from Ashland has become one of the first physicians  in the midwest to be certified to treat Dupuytren’s without surgery. Instead of performing hand surgery to clean up the collagen that has built up in the palm of the hand and tightened to form cords that cause the fingers to end in toward the hand, Dr. Gary A. Pennington, a 1977 graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School in Ashland, now treats the disease with Xiaflex injections. The injections are the only FDA-approved non-surgical treatment proven to work in adults with Dupuytren’s.

Pennington, who received his medical training at the University of Kentucky, has been treating patients with Dupuytren’s with shots instead of surgery since early this year, and the shots have been effective in every instance. Often the improvements are immediate and only one shot is needed are each area affected by the disease, he said..

“Generally, each finger takes one injection,” said Pennington, who is associated with Crystal Plastic Surgeons in Akron. “Xiaflex is a purified enzyme that dissolves collagen. The next day the patient comes back and I manipulate the digit to break the cord.”

In most cases that is all that is needed to produce a straightened finger with a full range of motion. For about a month, the hand is put in a splint at night for protection.

The entire procedure takes place in his office without general anesthesia, said Pennington, the son of Carl and Stella Pennington, long-time Ashland residents who now live in Flatwoods.

While Pennington was the first physician in the Akron area to be certified to treat Dupuytren’s with injections, the procedures is becoming  more and more common because it is less invasive and just as effective as surgery, Pennington said.

Dupuytren’s disease is also known as Viking’s disease because it is most common in people of northern European descent. Although it can strike people of all ages it is most common among men who are older than 60. The International Dupuytren Society estimate that it can occur in some form in as many as one in four senior citizens. However, among the general population, only about 3 percent have the disease.

Surgery has been an effective treatment for Dupuytren’s disease for decades, but Pennington is convinced are now the preferable treatment. That’s why has put down his scapel for a needle in helping patients restore the use of their hands.

After receiving a medical degree from UK, Pennington became involved with hand surgery and plastic surgery. He received fellowship training in hand and micro-vascular surgery at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery at the University of Louisville in 1993. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

Text Only
Local News
  • Golden Corral sends children to camp

    Ashland’s Golden Corral teamed with other restaurants across nation this year to raise $1.5 million to send a total of 3,000 children to Camp Corral.

    July 24, 2014

  • Burglars steal golf gear

    A couple of golf enthusiasts might not make their tee times Saturday because burglars stole golf equipment from their garages.

    July 24, 2014

  • Music instructor claims age discrimination

    The Russell Independent School District is denying allegations of a former band director who claims in a lawsuit the district discriminated against him because of his age.

    July 24, 2014

  • Financial blunder leads to heated board discussion

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.
    Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles and City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin confirmed a new ordinance will be drafted so the department heads of finance and legal counsel will be checked by the board, in addition to Bitter’s current oversight.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stricter enforcement, diagonal spots endorsed to help downtown

    A group of business owners operating along Winchester Avenue — Ashland’s main thoroughfare — asked the Ashland Board of Commissioners to replace current parallel parking spots with diagonal ones, and also for more strick enforcement of a two-hour parking law.

    July 24, 2014

  • National act takes stage at Boyd County Fair

    The Building of Dreams erupted into screams Thursday night at the 2014 Boyd County Fair, as country music fans saw Bucky Covington take the stage.
    According to Ellen Keaton, fair board president, Covington was a favorite on season five of Fox’s talent competition series American Idol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke-free advocates bound for Ashland

    Advocates for smoke-free public spaces are touring the state, starting in Ashland, to drum up support for anti-tobacco legislation they hope to pass next year.
    Smoke-Free Kentucky is a coalition of organizations and people who support a ban on smoking in all public and work places in Kentucky.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ohio State Band Direc_Mayn.jpg Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday after determining he ignored a "sexualized" culture of rituals including students being pressured to march in their underwear and participate in sexually themed stunts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grimes has pep rally before energetic Democrats

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was preaching to the Democratic choir Thursday night at the Wendell Ford Dinner attended by about 700 here.

    July 24, 2014

  • Commissioners challenge city manager’s authority

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone