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Physicians of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction Publish Article on Revolutionary Phrenic Nerve Procedure

The physicians of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, have published an article on their pioneering phrenic nerve procedure in a noted medical journal.

The article, which appeared in the June issue of Anesthesiology (V 119 • No 2) is titled Surgical Treatment of Permanent Diaphragm Paralysis after Interscalene Nerve Block for Shoulder Surgery. Authors include Matthew R. Kaufman, M.D., Andrew I. Elkwood, M.D., Michael I. Rose, M.D., Tushar Patel, M.D., and Russell Ashinoff, M.D.

The article reviews a study of 14 patients from around the USA who experienced diaphragm paralysis following the nerve block for rotator cuff surgery. Subsequent damage to the phrenic nerve, including entrapment and adhesions (scar tissue) was discovered through a series of diagnostic tests routinely ordered by the physician authors, among the only ones known to perform phrenic nerve surgery.

The phrenic nerve controls the function of the diaphragm muscle – the primary muscle involved in breathing. Contraction of the diaphragm muscle permits expansion of the chest cavity and inhalation of air into the lungs.

Nerve decompression and nerve transplants are commonplace in the treatment of arm or leg paralysis and can restore function to a previously paralyzed muscle or group of muscles.  At the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction in New Jersey, Dr. Matthew Kaufman and colleagues have pioneered world-class treatment for phrenic nerve injury in order to reverse diaphragm paralysis. As far as can be determined, Dr. Kaufman is the only physician to perform this specialized surgery. As of August 2013, he has performed nearly 80 phrenic nerve decompressions and phrenic nerve transplants for the treatment of phrenic nerve injuries and has been successful in reversing diaphragm paralysis in the vast majority of those treated. Patients have ranged in age from 9 to over 70 and have come from around the USA as well as other countries, including Australia, Israel, and Canada.

One such recent patient is Thomas Fols of Pennsylvania, who injured his phrenic nerve, most likely in a snowboarding accident. He underwent surgery on June 28, 2013, with Dr. Matthew Kaufman. Immediately following surgery, he reports, “When I awoke in recovery, I gathered my thoughts and took my first deep breath… it was a life-changing moment.”

In addition to the article in Anesthesiology, the physicians at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction have published articles in other medical journals on the topic of diaphragm paralysis and phrenic nerve surgery, including in CHEST journal and Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. The physicians have also received extensive coverage in general media on phrenic nerve surgery, and several have been presenters at various local, national, and international medical conferences on the topic.

To read the entire article in Anesthesiology, visit (article to be posted on Advanced Recon website)

For further inquiries, contact Heather O’Neill at 732-741-0970 Ext. 100