Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Iommi says injured hand on mend

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News

Tony Iommi
Tony Iommi plays in the band Heaven and Hell with some ex-Sabbath members

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has said he is making a good recovery after receiving stem-cell treatment on an injured hand.

"It's coming on alright actually," the acclaimed guitarist told the BBC at the Classic Rock Awards on Monday.

"I've already had the stem-cell treatment, so I've just got to wait now. It's been six weeks but it's feeling great."

Iommi had been in pain after problems with his right hand joints.

He told the BBC Radio 2 Radcliffe and Maconie Show in October that the cartilage had worn out between the joints.

"It was bone to bone and it was getting a bit painful," he said.

Iommi had his hand strapped up at the rock awards, but said he was still able to pick up his guitar.

"No, I can play! " he said. "I'm just wearing this now because if people shake your hand I don't want to push it, I want to take it easy for a bit.

"But it's been really good, and I'm glad I went that route before having any kind of operation."

Stem cells are very immature cells that can be used to change into different types of tissue like bone.

Iommi already has two missing fingertips on his right hand after an accident aged 17 at a sheet metal factory.

'Very vulnerable'

Brian May
Brian May said his hand problems had gone away

Other guitarists at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards praised Iommi's skill.

"Tony's been tremendous because he lost the end of a couple of his fingers - so even more power to him to come through that and become one of the legends of metal," said Iron Maiden's Janick Gers.

Queen guitarist Brian May said: "I know Eddie Van Halen's had similar problems and it was Ed who told Tony about this stem-cell treatment."

He added: "I've been pretty lucky, but on the first tour we did with Paul Rodgers I had a lot problems, and it did get scary.

"I used to wake up in the morning and not be able to move my left hand at all. As it turned out, it didn't get any worse. Life hits you where you don't want to be hit and our hands are very vulnerable."



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