Monday, June 18, 2007
Medical Reports: Getting Up The Nerve
Until now, people with diabetes who suffer from nerve damage in their feet and legs had no treatment options. They also had to face the possibility of losing that limb, but as 7's Christine Cruz tells us, there's a new procedure that's helping patients get up the nerve and walk again.
WSVN -- For Jesse Black, the tingling sensations in his foot would strike at night.
Jesse Black: "When you have these nerve issues, they don't know to chill out, so they are still yelling. That's why you get all these crazy sensations in your feet."
For Linda Hollinger, it was worse. All the feeling in her foot was pretty much gone.
Linda Hollinger: "I was afraid to walk. I was afraid I was going to fall or something like that."
Both Jesse and Linda worried they would face amputation.
Jesse Black: "The hardest part is getting a diagnosis, that says it doesn't make a difference what you do, you're gonna lose the use of your leg."
They have what's called diabetic neuropathy. It's a complication of diabetes that causes all the nerves in the leg and foot to eventually die off.
Dr. Eric Williams: "The nerves actually swell and get larger and the easiest way to show you that is this: the nerves travel from the spine to the feet and they go through various tunnels, so if my finger is a tunnel and my neck is a nerve. Right now it's pretty comfortable, but if my neck gets twice as big, and my fingers don't, the blood flow is going to choke off and die."
But doctors at the Dellon Institutes have found a way to stop those nerves from dying. During an outpatient surgery, they cut the restricting tunnels around the nerves, allowing the nerves to come back to life.
Dr. Eric Williams: "What we do as surgeons is not operate on the nerve, but we release the tunnel and the blood flow returns and those nerves can recover and get healthier."
Right after surgery, doctors tickle patients' feet and patients like Linda are tickled by the instant'feeling.
Dr. Eric Williams: "You haven't felt your foot for a long time now?"
Linda Hollinger: "It's ticklish!!!"
Some patients can walk right after surgery and go home. For Linda, it's home to a new life.
Linda Hollinger: "The first thing I will do is get out and walk as long as I can."
Jesse also had the surgery. His foot pain is better and he's even received a chance to start hiking again.
Jesse Black: "I am excited about doing the exact things I was doing before. I can get out and do what I choose to do."
Christine Cruz: "Right now the procedures are being done in several spots around the nation like Boston and Baltimore and many patients in Florida, like Jesse, are making the trip.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dellon Institutes for Peripheral Nerve Surgery