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Landmark Study Confirms Efficacy of Phrenic Nerve Surgery

Dr. Matthew Kaufman and Dr. Andrew Elkwood of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction are among the co-authors of a study showing that surgery for an impaired phrenic nerve can result in significant improvement in breathing function and physical activity. Dr. Kaufman called the research, published in the Journal of Reconstructive Microsurgery, “a landmark study.”

According to Dr. Kaufman, Long-Term Follow-Up after Phrenic Nerve Reconstruction for Diaphragmatic Paralysis: A Review of 180 Patients is the longest and largest analysis of this procedure since he started performing it in 2007.

The study evaluation included 180 patients with unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis who had phrenic nerve reconstruction from September 2007 to December 2015. They underwent the procedure at either Jersey Shore University Medical Center in New Jersey or the UCLA Medical Center in California.

Among the conclusions of the study:

  • 89 percent of patients had improved breathing function
  • Overall, diaphragm muscle strength improved by 125 percent

The study boasts good news for the 5,000 to 10,000 new patients who are diagnosed with phrenic nerve damage each year.

Dr. Kaufman presented the study findings at the 2016 CHEST Annual Meeting in Los Angeles. The information also appeared in a UCLA Research Result.

Congratulations, Dr. Kaufman and Dr. Elkwood.