"The pain in my hand and arm was forefront of my mind everyday for three years. It's still hard to believe that I don't even give it a thought now. Dr. Collins was able to finally diagnose......and treat my condition."
I was 16 when I started having pain in my left ring finger and as the years passed the pain increased, spreading to my hand and arm. I play the piano and it affected me. Then I noticed a blue mass under my finger nail.
I saw a number of physicians and no one could explain what was causing the pain. I saw a neurologist who performed an EMG to determine if there was nerve damage - and though I was on the line between normal and damage they thought that possibly there was an ulnar nerve problem and recommended that I do some physical therapy. It didn’t help. They then checked for nerve compression, but nothing.
I went to see Dr. Collins. He examined my hand and had an MRI done. He knew right away, diagnosing it as a benign Glomus tumor. He immediately scheduled an excision. There was no pain. Following the procedure, I wrapped it and kept it elevated for 10 days then had a check up. On the 10th day he said it was fine!
Now I don’t even think about it, which is crazy because it was in the forefront of my mind everyday for three years.
I recommend that you keep trying if you think something is wrong despite what you’re hearing. Dr. Collins was great and knew exactly what it was. He’s very knowledgable and high energy.
Michelle Kratofil, 19
Left ring finger mass excision (Glomus tumor)
"He understands the condition of my hands."
I have seen Dr. Collins for various issues over the years - trigger finger in two different fingers,
de Quervains and arthritis at the base of my right thumb. He understands the condition of my hands. I had cortisone injections twice, but my right hand was getting increasingly worse.
We have a lot of arthritis in my family and Dr. Collins said that while I could wait to address the pain, I shouldn't. He said it wouldn't be any worse in five years But I am a quilter and a knitter and the rotary cutter was becoming more painful. I thought to myself, I could continue to suffer for five years and then, well, I'll be five years older!
He's really good about listening - answering your questions and not making the decision for you but helping you understand everything so that you can make the best decision for yourself.
I had the procedure done in July. When the cast came off I was surprised how clean it was when the stitch was removed. He explained that it was a "running stitch" - and I said, I know what that is! It really was so clean. It has been two months last Thursday and I'm doing great - holding off a bit longer on knitting but have been doing some hand sewing.
I worked with the hand therapist at the Medical Center and then regularly did my exercises at home. Dr. Collins also recommended massage therapy to keep the scar tissue down - and I think that has made a big different.
My mom is 100 years and six months old....and her mother lived to be 96. We live a long time in our family, so I have to take care of myself! Dr. Collins is helping me do that.
Diane Doty, 79
Right LRTI (Ligament Reconstruction and Tendon Interposition)
"You really couldn't have a better doctor."
I've been a patient of Dr. Collins since 2006. I had carpal tunnel and trigger thumb on my right hand and then carpal tunnel and trigger thumb on the left.
Recently I was hit by a car and sustained a number of severe injuries. The EMS was not going to take me to Houston Methodist Hospital - something to do with trauma centers, so I asked the driver who hit me to take me there. When I got to the ER, they were reluctant to admit me, so I called Dr. Collins. It was 10:30 on a Friday night, but he talked to the ER and had me admitted. I knew that's where I needed to be.
I work with the Houston Grand Opera and Dr. Collins is one of the physicians working with us through the Center for Performing Arts Medicine. I trust him. He's an excellent communicator - with his colleagues and everyone involved in your medical care. That's difficult to find.
Because my injuries required hopping around on a walker, I was experiencing a lot of upper body pain. It affected my shoulders, neck and arms. He knew what treatments I had had previously and he knew that I would do better with deep tissue massage and other therapeutic approaches as opposed to drugs or a shot for this pain.
He's no nonsense and he's very clear. He doesn't just want to shoot you up with cortisone and scoot you out the door. He knew about all the other aspects of my medical care and recognized my other injuries, my previous treatments and the overall impact everything had on my body.
Everything that he has done has helped. I do the massages and I know that the pain won't totally go away until my lower body recovers. He knows everything about every injury and condition - past and present - so I trust what he recommends.
I've found that too often today doctors are only interested in their specialty and the work that they've done on you - not any other aspect or its affect on the whole. Dr. Collins wants to know about your overall well being. That's really one of the big differences between him and his team.
You really couldn't have a better doctor.
Diane Zola, 59
"The NA procedure on my hand is great! I could not be any more pleased."
All I wish to say is a BIG thank you for all you have done. I was treated professionally and kindly by all. The NA (needle aponeurotomy) procedure on my hand is great! I could not be any more pleased.
Much thanks and cheers!
Craig Arden, Dallas, Texas
My husband's contracture was getting really bad on his left ring finger, but he had had open surgery because of a contracture on his other hand years earlier and went through a long recovery with physical therapy and was not eager about going in for this one.
We went to see Dr. Collins and learned that the procedure he uses is not open surgery - and has a much quicker recovery. He had a needle aponeurotomy. He was very happy how quickly he recovered. As a tool and dye maker, he works with his hands - using heavy wrenches and tools. He needs both hands. We couldn't be any happier.
Carroll "CD" Register, 66
Left ring finger Dupuytren's Contracture
"I was apprehensive about addressing the contractures on my left hand since the first surgery on my right hand came with such a long recovery time and nearly 50 stitches. But, a friend had his hand done by Dr. Collins using a new procedure and couldn't have been happier. So, I decided to do it. I was playing the piano the next day...and I've been shouting it from the rooftops ever since!"
I had a surgical procedure 10 years ago to repair the severe Dupuytren’s contracture on my right hand. The physician at the time performed open surgery and put nearly 50 stitches in my hand. It was a long recovery. When I saw the same nodules begin to develop on my left hand, I knew that I would have to eventually do something. The contracture causes the hand to almost completely close up. While I was able to continue some activities I enjoyed like golf, it was becoming increasingly difficult to play the piano and perform other activities that required me to articulate the fingers.
I lived with the limited function of my left hand for five years, because of my first experience. I didn't want to go through that again.
I was apprehensive about addressing the contractures on my left hand since the first surgery on my right hand came with such a long recovery time and nearly 50 stitches. But, a friend had his hand done by Dr. Collins using a new procedure and couldn't have been happier. So, I decided to do it. I was playing the piano the next day...and I've been shouting it from the rooftops ever since!
The difference between the two procedures is incredible. The recovery was immediate with the needle fasciotomy. It completely restored function and flexibility to my hand. I had no pain. It was completely different, and I'm really glad I did it.
John Paull, Houston, Texas
Mini needle fasciotomy ring and small finger
(Percutaneous Needle Fasciotomy, or Needle Aponeurotomy)
"When this time came for my personal use of our tremendous hospital system, I was not prepared for the extraordinary personal efforts of two of our best. I am privileged to have such caring surgeons who went way beyond what was required to make sure I was cared for."
I recently suffered a significant traumatic injury to my proximal left humerus. Dr. Collins and Dr. Kolstad expertly performed a complex surgical repair on 3/11/09 at Houston Methodist Hospital. As expected, the care I received by both surgeons and the hospital staff was superb and without compare. I am extremely grateful as is my family.
What may not have been expected and what prompts this correspondence is the extraordinary personal efforts that Dr. Collins and Dr. Kolstad took to take care of me.
My injury occurred on a Friday evening around 9 pm following my sons' soccer games at a high school in Fort Bend County. I knew I was injured but not how badly, so my wife took me to Methodist Sugar Land Hospital's ED, which was about 20 minutes away. Upon arrival, I was seen promptly in triage and was taken directly to imaging. On the way, I was asked who my Orthopedic surgeon was and I told them that I did not have one.
After the x-rays were viewed by the PA, I was told that I had a grade 5 fracture and that the proximal humerus was in at least 4 pieces. The PA said he would contact the orthopod on-call.
Upon receiving this news, I called Dr. Collins’ office because this sounded pretty bad even to a clinical pathologist. He said that the course of action was dependent on a number of factors and he indicated that he would be happy to consult with the local Orthopod.
I was taken to an ED room for IV, labs and analgesia. Dr. Collins called back to talk with my wife (who said) the orthopod would see me in the morning. It was around 10 pm. When my wife told Dr. Collins what as occurring, he became my doctor and was at my bedside within 20 minutes. He examined me and my studies, guided my stabilization and started working on the plan for me. He contacted Dr. Kolstad to coordinate my care. Dr. Collins was the only physician I saw at MSLH, but he was the only one I needed.
I was able to have surgery at TMH that Monday.
Working at TMH at this time provides me with an expectation of excellent and extraordinary technical medical care as the routine. When this time came for my personal use of our tremendous hospital system, I was not prepared for the extraordinary personal efforts of two of our best. I am privileged to have such caring surgeons who went way beyond what was required to make sure I was cared for.
Knowing Dr. Collins and Dr. Kolstad as I do now, it is likely to be normative behavior to drive to our community hospitals to see patients on Friday nights rather than spend time with their families, to fly home early from vacation to perform surgery on a stranger or to complicate their schedules to accommodate a patient's urgent need.
Even if they do this all the time, I am externally grateful they did it for me.
David W. Bernard, MD, PhD
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
Medical Director, Clinical Pathology
Medical Director, Laboratory Medicine Information Systems
"Dr. Collins performed a new procedure, the NA (needle aponeurotomy) procedure. It was a super deal. From the time I got there to the prep room and recovery, everything was top notch. The staff was awesome and made you feel so comfortable. We were in and out in a matter of hours. I'm playing the guitar again!"
I had Dupuytren's Contracture so bad that I couldn't put my hand in my pocket. It's not that it hurt so badly, but it was keeping me from a lot of things I enjoyed doing like playing the guitar - and even simple things.
Dr. Collins performed a new procedure, the NA (needle aponeurotomy) procedure. It was a super deal. From the time I got there to the prep room and recovery, everything was top notch. The staff was awesome and made you feel so comfortable. We were in and out in a matter of hours.
I was really comfortable with it, because he explains everything really well. He explained in detail what to expect and what the procedure entailed…and he hit it all on the head! I didn't have any pain at all after the procedure and was completely recovered two to three weeks later.
We couldn’t have asked for anything better. I'm playing the guitar again!
Jerry Yates, 63
Needle Aponeurotomy (NA) Surgery