New Hope for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can produce severe pain and crippling joint deformities. A new procedure may give sufferers a chance to regain hand function – but it’s not for the squeamish.

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With dynamic external fixation, pins are surgically inserted into the affected fingers and attached to an external frame to encourage the fingers to gradually straighten. “The doctor involved actually compared this to orthodontic work,” explains ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork.

Dieter suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and is undergoing the procedure. He says he is seeing improvement in his hands. “They’re still pretty painful, but they’re improving gradually but surely.”

Watch: Rheumatoid Arthritis Surgery

His photos of his hands have gone viral, and he’s pleased that he’s raising awareness of rheumatoid arthritis. He says, “It’s good that people realize that diseases like this can hit you at any time.”

Dr. Stork reminds the audience that any arthritis-like symptoms are a signal to see a doctor immediately. “The sooner you seek help and get treatment, the quicker you can stave off long-term problems.”

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