March 26th, 2013
American Diabetes Association Alert Day will be held on Tuesday March 26th. This is a one-day, national “wake-up call” asking people to take the Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy (new-ROP-uh-thee), also referred to as peripheral neuropathy. About half of all people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. It is more common in those who have had the disease for a number of years and can lead to many kinds of problems. It can lead to decreased sensation and/or numbness or tingling in the extremities. This loss of feeling can lead to wounds that don’t heal, infection and even amputation.
Treatment Options for Neuropathy
Fortunately, in select cases neuropathy can be improved or reversed with nerve decompression surgery. Performed by experts at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction on an outpatient basis and taking less than an hour, the procedure involves relieving the pressure on a nerve by surgically removing the constricting tissue or bone, or widening the canal encasing the nerve. Decompression surgery is successful in relieving the symptoms of neuropathy in up to 90 % of well selected patients. The procedure is minimally invasive, requiring only small incisions over the affected area thus promoting a quicker recovery. Our surgeons are among fewer than twenty plastic surgeons in the world that have been specifically trained in this surgery. For further information or a free consultation, log onto http://www.advancedreconstruction.com/neuropathy/.
March 19th, 2013
Honored in His Field with This Prestigious Listing
Dr. Russell Ashinoff of The Plastic Surgery Center of New Jersey and the affiliated Institute for Advanced Reconstruction has been selected for the prestigious Castle Connolly Top Doctors designation as a Top Doctor in the Field of Plastic Surgery for 2012.
Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors are defined as being among the top 10% of physician leaders within their specialty within their region. The designation is also the resource for national listing in U.S. News and World Report, and the source for designations in more than 40 regional magazines.
Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors™ selection process begins with surveys of physicians and healthcare professionals. Each year, Castle Connolly surveys thousands of physicians and other healthcare professionals and asks them to identify excellent doctors in every specialty in their region and throughout the nation.
In addition to mail and online surveys, the Castle Connolly physician-led research team makes thousands of phone calls each year, talking with leading specialists, chairs of clinical departments and vice presidents of medical affairs, seeking to identify top specialists for most diseases and procedures.
Building on years of prior research, thousands of top doctors included in earlier editions of our guides are invited to offer their nominations for Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctors. Beginning in 2011, and moving forward, the nomination process invited every licensed MD and DO across the country to participate. This involved contacting over 50,000 physicians and healthcare executives, a nationwide distribution of nomination notifications via various media channels and partnering with US News and World Report as a means of expanding our process to physicians across the country.
The Castle Connolly physician-led research team carefully reviews the credentials of every physician being considered for inclusion in Castle Connolly Guides®, magazine articles and website. The review includes, among other factors, scrutiny of medical education, training, hospital appointments, administrative posts, professional achievements, and malpractice and disciplinary history.
Doctors cannot and do not pay to be listed in any Castle Connolly guide to top doctors. They are selected based on nominations by their peers and reviewed by Castle Connolly’s physician-directed research team.
March 19th, 2013
Christine Klag was relieved to learn from her breast surgeon that she could have breast reconstruction immediately. In fact, it is still the case that many woman undergoing mastectomy don’t realize this. But when given the option, she interviewed and chose Dr. Russell Ashinoff of The Plastic Surgery Center and The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction. “As soon as I met Dr. Ashinoff,” she said to herself, ‘This is it. He’s my angel.’ Concludes Klag, who is back at work as a police lieutenant in North Bergen, “(Dr. Ashinoff) is very rare.” Click on the image below to read about her enlightening story and successful breast reconstruction surgery in the March/April 2013 issue of Meridian Healthviews.
March 4th, 2013
A motor vehicle accident took away the healthy, functioning lifestyle of a Kristen Kuczenksi, 29 years old, of Pittston Township, PA. Five years later, however, Dr. Matthew Kaufman of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction performed nerve decompression surgery, a special yet relatively simple procedure, that gave her back her life by treating her occipital neuralgia. Kristen experienced daily headaches that were so severe they often resulted in nausea and vomiting. She described the pain as predominately on the left side of her head resulting in sensitivity so severe she had trouble even touching the area, such as for brushing or washing her hair, and she never wore sunglasses.
“It was like fireworks going off inside my head,” she said.
After years of visiting doctors from pain management specialists to neurologists and her family doctor she still found no relief from her headaches.
“I didn’t even want to live,” she said, adding that, I hit a breaking point.”
Following her surgery and recovery, Kristen wrote a detailed and emotionally moving letter addressed to her surgeon, Dr. Matthew Kaufman, which concludes:
Dr. Kaufman, I will forever treasure the gift you gave me of getting a second chance at life.
February 26th, 2013
Dear Dr. Kaufman,
Over the past several months, I’ve thought about and tried writing this on numerous occasions. It seemed nothing ever justified the gratitude I feel, or how deeply indebted I am to you for saving my life. I say that because I was at a crossroads in life, and if we had never crossed paths, I know I wouldn’t be here today.
I was in a car accident on March 3, 2007, exactly six months before my wedding, and everything changed. I was rear-ended at a red light on Route 6 in Dickson City, PA. I went to Mercy Hospital in Scranton after the accident, where they checked me out, pushed some pills, and sent me on my way with scheduled follow-ups.
I slowly started getting better everywhere, except my head. The left side of my head had a hyper-sensitivity that would bring me to tears instantaneously, and included a pain much like fireworks going off in my head. That created a build-up of pressure, leaving me with the desire to drill holes in my head.
I came to appreciate the small things in life I previously took for granted. I realized for the first time you really can’t judge a book by its cover, because as normal as I looked on the outside, no one knew the damage that my nerve sustained, or the amount of pain I was in and how it would impact my life and daily activities. Everything became a struggle, but through it all, I tried masking my injuries as much as I could, and tried to lead as much of a normal life without anyone knowing. My doctors and husband were the only people who really understood my daily struggles (maybe not fully, but they watched it firsthand) over the course of five years of treatments, whether oral or injectable. Certain treatment options helped, but nothing was ever long-term. After a time it became very evident I was not improving in the least.
I truly hid my pain from the entire world, except my doctors and husband. I watched as my OB-GYN dropped me as a patient after the accident because I would be a high-risk pregnancy. I located a new one, and even he referred me out of the area for a one-time consult, only to be told that with my medications, pregnancy was not in my near future. Now, after five years of marriage and my surgery, things seem to be looking a little more optimistic.
Last year, I was let go from my job as the employer began to outsource many positions in an effort to save money during this economic downturn. This finally gave me the opportunity to seek out the help I needed while looking for a new job. In addition, my health was rapidly declining, and I was only hanging on by a string.
My occipital neuralgia* was taking over my life. The pain was consuming me, so much so that I can honestly say I debated at times if I actually wanted to live. I was losing perspective. I tried so hard to fight the hypersensitivity and be a normal 23-year-old when the accident occurred, but as the years progressed, being in chronic pain took a toll on my body. I simply felt like I couldn’t possibly handle one more day, or vomit one more time. I wanted my bedridden days to be a pastime, but they were very real and becoming more frequent as I was losing ground at holding onto my health. I researched occipital neuralgia and new treatments daily, and things to try. One day, I happened upon your website.
I can remember reaching out to The Plastic Surgery Center and speaking to (nurse staff member) Barbara for the first time, and feeling a glimmer of hope when she had me send over my medical history for you to review. Days later, I received a phone call from you. I had never had a doctor call me and give of his time and expertise the way you did. From that phone call, I knew you would change my life forever. I laughed, I cried, I was so excited. You understood the emotional journey I had been on with my occipital neuralgia, and you respected me as a person enough to take the time and listen. You were completely honest with me, explaining that the surgery may or may not work. You never tried to give me false hope.
I can remember waking up from the surgery and instantaneously feeling room in the back of my head for the first time since the accident. It was the most incredible feeling ever!!! My pain was definitely different; it was now what I refer to as surgery pain. Slowly but surely, I hope to be able to get off all my medication. The surgery changed my life. You gave me a reason to live.
I was 23 years old when the accident happened, and I gave up so much of my social life, missing parties, trips, etc. Now, I look forward to transitioning back to the person I was, but at my own speed. I know it sounds silly, but I treasure things the normal person takes for granted– like going to see a movie in a movie theater, working an 8-hour-day and being able to go to the store afterward and cook dinner without wanting to put my head through a wall. For me it’s all baby steps for now, and simply enjoying the life you gave back to me.
People complain about pain every day. I hear it all the time, but I can’t say for sure anyone ever understood mine until I met you. Dr. Kaufman, I will forever treasure the gift you gave me of getting a second chance at life. I was at the lowest point in my life before my surgery. I am so grateful you took a chance on me.
Thank you for helping me when no one else could, and believing me when so many people thought I was imagining things. You gave me reason not to give up hope, and if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today.
Click to read Kristen’s incredible story: http://www.advancedreconstruction.com/20130205-severe-headache-pain-caused-by-occipital-neuralgia/
*Occipital neuralgia is chronic head pain in areas that correspond to the greater occipital nerves, which extend from the spine to the scalp.