Friday, January 9, 2009
Medical Reports: Easing Nerve Pain
For some patients surgery can lead to months, even years of pain, but a new procedure is helping patients get through surgery pain-free. Seven's Christine Cruz has more in tonight's Healthcast
WSVN -- Harry Freedman is an avid cyclist. When the weather's bad outside, he brings his ride inside, but for a few years, pain forced Harry to stop peddling.
Harry Freedman: "It was debilitating. It was hard for me to work. It was hard for me to sleep. You know, it's just hard to live."
A bulldozer ran over him at work, severing his leg.
Harry Freedman: "The tires are five feet tall, and he hit me with one of the tires."
Harry lived in agony for a year.
Harry Freedman: "Let's say there's a storm, and the telephone pole falls down, and there's a live wire sparking on the road. That's what it feels like."
Georgetown University plastic surgeon Ivica Ducic helped to ease his pain with a procedure he developed called peripheral nerve surgery.
Dr. Ducic removed the damaged part of the nerve and implanted it into the muscle, basically protecting the end of the nerve, so it won't grow back, and it won't cause any more pain.
Dr Ducic: "The cause is the painful terminal end of the nerve."
The procedure is for anyone who's pain medication does not work. People who've been in pain for at least six months after surgery. After 17 surgeries and several different medications, peripheral nerve surgery was one of Harry's last options and it worked.
Harry Freedman: "That pain that I had that was so terrible is gone."
Now, nothing is stopping him.
Christine Cruz: "This outpatient procedure has been performed 55 times over the last 18 months with an 85 to 90 percent success rate.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Georgetown University Hospital
Department of Plastic Surgery