Easing nerve pain after surgery

December 31, 2008 10:41:03 AM PST
Thousands of patients ever year experience pain for months or even years after having surgery for trauma. Now, anew procedure can eliminate the hurt, numbness and burning sensations some people experience after leaving the operating room.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 pedaling.

"It was debilitating. It was hard for me to work, hard for me to sleep. It was just hard to live," said Freedman.

A bulldozer ran over him at work severing his leg.

"The tires are five feet tall. He hit me with one of the tires," said Freedman.

Harry lived in agony for a year.

"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," said Freedman.

Georgetown University plastic surgeon helped to ease his pain with the procedure he developed called peripheral nerve surgery.

"I'm after the source of the pain," said Ivica Ducic, MD, PhD.

The doctor 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 won't cause any more pain.

The procedure is for anyone who had surgery and has also experienced pain for at least six months and drugs have failed. After 17 surgeries and several different medications peripheral nerve surgery was one of Harry's last options and it worked.

"That pain that I had that was so terrible is gone," said Freedman. Now nothing is stopping him.


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