Severe Headache Pain Caused by Occipital Neuralgia Solved with Relatively Minor Surgery
“He changed my life. I’m just so thankful I got a second chance. Not everyone does. I feel like the most fortunate person in the world. I can’t thank Dr. Kaufman enough. I feel like he’s my angel. He gave me something that no one else did.” Kristen Kuczenski, patient
Dr. Matthew Kaufman Performs Nerve Decompression Surgery on Pennsylvania Woman
A motor vehicle accident took away the healthy, functioning lifestyle of Kristen Kuczenski, 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.
While waiting at a stoplight on March 3, 2007, Kuczenski was rear-ended by another car in which she suffered neck and back injuries. While her neck and back pain eventually healed, the impact of hitting her head on the driver’s headrest left her with consistent, daily headaches that were so severe they often resulted in nausea and vomiting. She described the pain as predominantly 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,” Kuczenski 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.”
That was when, in desperation, she scoured the Internet and came across Dr. Kaufman. Dr. Kaufman then phoned her in March of 2012 after he received her medical records at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I never had a doctor actually call and want to speak to me about my condition and about getting better.”
By August, Dr. Kaufman performed nerve decompression surgery on Kuczenski, a procedure he was able to conveniently perform at the practice’s surgery center to relieve the pressure causing her such excruciating pain.
“Occipital neuralgia is a headache condition that primarily impacts the back of the head and is often related to nerve compression,” said Dr. Kaufman, who is among a handful of surgeons able to perform this surgery, adding that, “The symptoms may occur after a traumatic event and can be so severely debilitating so that even the strongest medications are ineffective. Surgical treatment for this condition has been available for the last six or seven years and has provided relief for hundreds of headache sufferers who would otherwise have no options to reduce or eliminate symptoms. Kristen has had a remarkable improvement following surgery and is now able to return to a normal level of daily functioning.”
“I woke up from the surgery, and for the first time since the accident, I felt like I had room in the back of my head,” said Kuczenski, a part-time travel agent. “Since then, I’ve done a complete 180. [My husband] is over the moon. He can tell I’m completely different. Before I was the person, he initially met. Slowly but surely, I’m coming back to myself.”
As for Dr. Kaufman, she said, “He changed my life. I’m just so thankful I got a second chance. Not everyone does. I feel like the most fortunate person in the world. I can’t thank Dr. Kaufman enough. I feel like he’s my angel. He gave me something that no one else did.”
Read Kristen’s letter to Dr. Kaufman: https://www.advancedreconstruction.com/blog/occipital-neuralgia-patient-thanks-dr-kaufman.
About the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction
The physicians of the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction are recognized as leaders in the field of nerve reconstruction and plastic reconstructive surgery. They have over fifty years of combined experience and are among the few nationally and even worldwide to perform a number of pioneering procedures. Their successful team approach to medicine results in the highest possible quality of care, and their reputation for excellence in their field draws patients from around the U.S. and the world.