Testimonials

I cannot thank Dr. Elkwood and his staff enough

After 2 falls, 2 operations on my right shoulder and another operation on my right arm where my arm was broken in 5 places from my elbow to shoulder. I could not raise my arm and I had a lot of pain. Dr. Elkwood performed my fourth surgery to free my badly compressed axial nerve and clean out scar tissue in that area. Now I can lift my arm and am free from pain. I cannot thank Dr. Elkwood and his staff enough. They are wonderful!!

I loved working with Dr. Schneider.

She was kind and attentive to my needs, all while being extremely professional. Her work turned out beautifully and it was so nice that she seemed so rewarded by her work. I am in so much less pain and I love how I look.

Mary Emily Berge

Dr. Schneider is a wonderful doctor.

My experience with her has been great. My reconstructive surgery on my breast is beautiful. In my eyes Dr. Schneider is the best plastic surgeon around. She is caring and very attentive doctor. Love you Dr. Schneider, you rock. 🙂

Sherrry Maximin

Thank you, Dr. Schneider for all the kindness, caring and support

I received from you and your staff before, during, and after my 2 surgeries. You are the best doctor I ‘ve ever had. Joe and I appreciate all the ways you fought for me, long distance. God bless & watch over you always.

Liz Pierno

There are no words anywhere near good enough to explain the profound change in my life and the extreme gratitude I have for Dr Kaufman and Dr Elkwood.

I had a totally paralyzed right diaphragm and had only about 40% normal breathing capacity overall. I had to be standing or sitting upright or on my bipap machine in order to breathe without feeling like I was suffocating. I couldn’t walk 100 feet without feeling like I was suffocating. I just had the Phrenic Nerve surgery done by Dr Kaufman and Dr Elkwood on 6/2/2017. These 2 experts gave me my lung back and I can live now without feeling like I am suffocating all the time. They took a nerve from my leg and fixed my Phrenic Nerve(next to my neck) with it and put a cadaver nerve in my leg. I know I could walk fast for a few miles if I wasn’t recuperating from my surgery and I’m sure I’ll be jogging again someday from the way I feel today. I actually walked at least a mile 3 days after my surgery getting to and from the airplanes. I’m sure I should have used a wheelchair but I just felt good to walk without suffocating. They also restored lost muscle function in my right arm which had weak spots. Everything went perfect. There are no words even close to saying how much admiration I have for Dr Kaufman and Dr Elkwood. They changed my life and gave me a miracle. I’m 61 years old but you two Doctors are my heroes for the rest of my life. I highly recommend these two miracle workers if you need a miracle like I did. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Don Thrash

Dr. Lisa Schneider is a great doctor who should be in the top ten in her field of expertise if she isn’t already. Dr. Schneider shows concern and is with you on your journey to recovery. No question goes unanswered. Thank you Dr. Schneider for your care, making me feel comfortable and relaxed. Dr. Schneider, you’re the best!!

Darlene Stout

Linda’s Story – Occipital Neuralgia

Linda was severely injured during a tornado. After returning home with an undiagnosed concussion, she began to suffer from debilitating complications, ranging from memory loss to severe, untreatable headaches. She was suffering from occipital neuralgia, a condition of the occipital nerves that causes severe pain. It was then that she found Dr. Kaufman of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, a world-renowned specialist in treating occipital neuralgia through nerve decompression.

I highly recommend Dr. Elkwood

After my second battle with breast cancer I was fortunate enough to have chosen Dr. Elkwood as my plastic surgeon for reconstruction. Chemotherapy had left me with very thin hair which made styling a challenge trying to cover up bald areas. Dr. Elkwood was able to give me fuller hair with very minimal discomfort. I can now have various hairstyles without being self conscious. I highly recommend Dr. Elkwood and the staff at the Plastic Surgery Center.

-Kathy G.

Anna’s Story – Lymphedema

Anna was young when she developed melanoma on her leg. Although her surgery was successful, she began struggling with unusual swelling in her right leg. “My leg felt heavy,” Anna recounts and goes on to say that her foot was “three times the size” it was supposed to be. She was suffering from lymphedema: swelling caused by the damage or removal of lymph nodes. Everywhere she turned, she found no answers, until meeting Dr. Ashinoff and Dr. Schneider of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction of New Jersey who performed a state-of-the-art lymphedema treatment to relieve Anna of both physical and emotional distress.

Coletta’s Story – Brachial Plexus Reconstruction

Coletta “Mickey” Coles was left with nerve damage after a bad fall, resulting in loss of functionality in her hand. She went to see Dr. Elkwood, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction. Dr. Elkwood performed brachial plexus reconstruction. Coletta is back doing the things she used to do, including simple activities we call take for granted, such as typing and opening doors.

Marita & Pat’s Story – Phrenic Nerve Reconstruction

Marita struggled to breathe shortly after shoulder surgery. Pat, on the other hand, had no apparent cause. As both struggled to find an answer, eventually Dr. Kaufman at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction would enter the picture, performing two successful phrenic nerve reconstructions. They’re both breathing normally again, back to doing the things they enjoy. In particular, Marita is part of Hope for a Thousand Hills, a non profit initiative focused on the restoration of the Cymbili Coffee Plantation in western Rwanda. To see learn more about this organization and how to get involved, go to hope4athousandhills.org

Susan’s Story – Avascular Necrosis

Months after a traumatic accident, Susan developed avascular necrosis in her ankle. Not accepting amputation as an option, she researched her condition extensively, only to find Dr. Saad, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in the treatment of avascular necrosis. Susan thought the trip from Texas to New Jersey was worth it to save her leg.

Susan runs a bird sanctuary in Texas. Click here to stop by!
Susan also moderates an AVN group on Facebook. Click here and request to join.

Sal’s Story – Brachial Plexus Reconstruction

A bad car accident left Sal injured and out of work. With no hope that he’d regain function in his arm, Sal met with Dr. Elkwood, who helped Sal get back to living as he used to.

Jeannine’s Story – Brachial Plexus and Breast Reconstruction

Jeannine Sico tells her story about facing two distinct, yet equally debilitating, health challenges: MRSA and breast cancer. With Dr. Elkwood’s help, Jeannine is back doing what she loves.

Melani’s Story – Breast Reconstruction

Melani Vincelli tells her story, which starts with stomach cancer and ends with breast reconstruction after having a double mastectomy. Follow Melani as she bravely traverses her journey … a journey she was told she wouldn’t make. With Dr. Rose’s help, Melani is not only thankful for the breast reconstruction, she believes her end result is better than the original. Melani is very active in various cancer societies. In particular, she works with Debbie’s Dream Foundation towards educating cancer victims, seeking new treatments, and eventually achieving a cure.

Dr. Schneider did an excellent job on my hand.

I am very grateful for Dr. Schneider and her staff for taking good care of me. I would like to thank Dr. Schneider for doing the surgery. Dr. Schneider did an excellent job on my hand, she was able to save my fingers. Thank you Dr. Schneider.

– Venus

My results were amazing.

As a 28 year breast cancer survivor and lymphedema sufferer for 20 plus years I have encountered numerous medical doctors and surgeons over these years. I have never met a more compassionate and understanding physician than Dr Schneider. My lymphedema had advanced and I was getting cellulitis infections in my arm more and more frequently. I began to feel the swelling in that arm had reached the point of no return as I was no longer responding to the usual therapies. Then I was given Dr Schneider’s name, She was able to give me hope to remedy my lymphedema condition. She explained the tests and procedures she could perform and every step of the recovery with such expertise. I had the lymph node transfer surgery and the “LVA” procedure bypassing the lymphatic fluid into the veins in my arm. My results were amazing. My arm has become softer and the swelling has reduced. I am so thankful that I was referred to Dr Schneider and had the opportunity to be cared for by such a knowledgeable and compassionate doctor.

– K.K.

From the minute I met with Dr Patel, all my fears disappeared.

I was a patient of Dr. Tushar R. Patel, MD, FACS last year. I needed eye surgery. I found Dr. Patel’s website The Plastic Surgery Center on the internet. After checking out his background I knew he would be a good fit for my needs. My surgery involved repositioning of the right eye socket bone.

From the minute I met with Dr Patel, all my fears disappeared. He explained exactly what needed to be done. He answered all my questions. He was very patient. He is very easy to speak to. When you leave his office you totally understand everything he explained to you.

The day of surgery he came to my hospital room, he went over the procedure, checked everything, and assured me not to worry. Before I knew it he was finished. I never felt anything. No pain. The next day I was able to go home.

I went back to see Dr Patel for a few follow up visits. The results speak for themselves. I was extremely pleased with the results.

I would recommend Dr Patel to anyone needing plastic surgery.

Dr. Russell Ashinoff and Dr. Lisa F. Schneider are phenomenal Plastic Surgeons

Having had a double mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, chemo & radiation I developed severe lymphedema in my left arm. Dr. Ashinoff & Dr. Schneider were recommended to me for lymph node transplant surgery. After my first consultation I felt completely confident and comfortable with their ability to perform this most complicated and not so common surgery. The surgery went very well. My arm swelling, which prior to surgery was at least 3 times larger than normal size, has substantially decreased and is now just a few centimeters more than my normal sized right arm. The staff at each of the Plastic Surgery Center locations are exceptionally pleasant, helpful and have always gone ‘above & beyond’ with regard to scheduling, billing, medication, explanation of procedures, etc.. I would strongly urge anyone, in the same situation that I was, to consider Dr. Ashinoff & Dr. Schneider for lymph node transfer surgery.

They are not surgeons; they are miracle workers.

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with cancer in my right leg. I had an operation to remove the cancerous tissue and some lymph nodes. I would have never expected that 6 years after being told I was cancer free I would develop a condition that comes as a side effect from the original surgery.

In April of 2015 my right foot and leg swelled for no apparent reason. The swelling was painful, caused problems with walking and wearing clothes and shoes. I went to an orthopedic, and for months the swelling continued and he had no idea what it was. I decided to visit my original oncologist, who diagnosed me with lymphedema. My family and I never heard of lymphedema, so I researched it and was afraid of the results if left untreated. Lucky for me, my oncologist referred me to Drs. Ashinoff and Schneider of the Institute of Advanced Reconstruction at the Plastic Surgery Center.

From my first visit, I knew I was in good hands. I needed a few tests to evaluate the severity and where the problem with my lymphatic system started and stopped. The results of tested showed I required two different procedures and both of the doctors would operate on me at the same time. They fully explained what they were going to do during the operation, my post surgery hospital stay and my recovery.

At every step of the way, they treated me as if I was their only patient. Their compassion is real and extended to my family as well. I was back to work in 3 weeks and I am getting better everyday. I cannot express the gratitude for what they have done for me and that we were referred to them. They are not surgeons; they are miracle workers.

-Anna Forte

I had a great experience in my surgery with Dr. Schneider.

I have had a great recovery. It was a wonderful experience.”

-Maria

I am extremely happy with the care of the staff at The Plastic Surgery Center and the results of my surgery.

The results were better than I had anticipated. I am very grateful to Dr. Schneider and all of her staff for the respectful treatment and care that they provided. Thank you!”

-Margaret Rosenberg

A thousand thank-you’s to Dr. Elkwood and his team.

A thousand thank-you’s to Dr. Elkwood and his team. I was in a motorcycle accident in September 2009, and among many of the injuries I suffered was two dissected carotid arteries and severed nerves from my spinal cord near my neck. Anyway, I lost the use of my right arm and the muscles atrophied so badly that my arm was separated from my shoulder (so painful). I went to many different specialists and surgeons, but no one wanted to touch me because of the damage to my carotid arteries. My first appointment with Dr. Elkwood changed everything. He didn’t say “sorry, I don’t know what I can do for you”, he said “I want to help you”. Tears filled my eyes, I couldn’t believe it. Well, he sent me to see his specialists, and when things were ready, I underwent muscle reconstruction surgery. Dr. Elkwood and team reconstructed my shoulder so my arm was no longer dislocated. When I woke up from the procedure, I had the normal surgery pain, but I noticed that the dislocated pain wasn’t there. By the time my next appointment, I was almost completely off my pain medication (which I was taking for over a year). Now, it’s been almost a year since the surgery, and instead of being hunched over in pain trying to hold my arm in place, I’m back to doing the things I really enjoy like hiking, camping, and my husband and I bought a kayak that you pedal with your feet. I’m not sure where I would have been now if I didn’t meet with Dr. Elkwood, but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. Again, thank you.

– Denise Young

I can never thank Dr Rose enough for what he has done for me.

After a surgery in 2010 I was left unable to feel my leg and foot due to the peroneal nerve. My neurologist sent me to Dr. Rose who explained the surgery and what to expect. Three weeks later I walked out of the hospital and could feel my leg completely and wiggle my toes for the first time in over a year. In 2012 I had the 2nd and final surgery on my foot which went great. Every day more and more feeling comes back. I am almost fully recovered. I can never thank Dr Rose enough for what he has done for me.

– Susan Gaston

Dr. Kaufman has not only restored my quality of life, but his expertise gives hope to the rest of the world as well.

In September 2010, I had right rotator cuff surgery and was given the usual nerve block for pain during and after surgery. A nerve block, being a blind procedure, damaged the phrenic nerve leaving the right diaphragm paralyzed causing difficulty breathing. Doctors said nothing could bring back normal breathing, “JUST LIVE WITH IT” the doctors said. For me it was very difficult to walk up stairs or just go for a short walk. Quality of life was in the “pits” for me until my wife ran into some online information about Dr. Kaufman and The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction.

February 17, 2012 was surgery day. After surgery I woke up to a breath of air I haven’t felt in a year and a half. Two days later I was taking longer and longer walks and now after one month I can even run for short periods.

Lung rehabilitation to strengthen my diaphragm is off to a good start. Dr. Kaufman and his team have given us more hope than we could possibly dream in such a short time. Dr. Kaufman has not only restored my quality of life, but his expertise gives hope to the rest of the world as well. Thank you and your team for such a wonderful gift.

– Tom Maddalla

Dr. Patel is one of the most impressive physicians I know.

I am not always good with words in expressing myself, but I do speak with my heart. On Thursday, February 5, 2010, I had an appointment to see Dr. Patel for reconstruction breast surgery. My first time visiting the office, I was amazed at the warmth and professional courteousness of the office. Dr. Patel and his wonderful staff are a breath of fresh air. When I met Dr. Patel whom I was considering to perform my surgery, I definitely knew that I had chosen the right doctor to take care of my breast reconstruction. My first impression of Dr. Patel was that he seemed to be gentle natured doctor who is very caring about his patients. My experience was that Dr. Patel took the time to listen to me about my health issue that needed attention, and I, did not feel that I was being rushed to speak so he could move on to his next patient. So, therefore, Dr. Patel is one of the most impressive physicians I know.

My office visits to see Dr. Patel and his wonderful staff had always put me at ease no matter how serious the reason for my visits. From the time I had entered The Plastic Surgery Center In Shrewsbury, N.J., I found that every staff member seemed to appreciate me as a patient.

I sincerely appreciate the awesome work that Dr. Patel has performed to make me feel how I use to before I had a mastectomy. It does not feel that I have ever had a mastectomy. There has been patience’s who have told me that they had breast cancer and never had reconstruction because they felt they did not need the breast any more and I respect their decision. I wanted breast reconstruction, not for my husband or anyone else. It was important to me to have this surgery performed so I could be the way I once was; with two breasts not one. I find that Dr. Patel’s performance and interpersonal skills phenomenal. I would enthusiastically recommend Dr. Patel to my family and friends.

I want to thank Dr. Patel and his wonderful caring staff for being so compassionate towards my needs and listening, as well as, answering any questions that had to be addressed.

They are the most caring and considerate professionals I have ever had the pleasure to deal with.

Dr Ashinoff along with his staff are fabulous! They are the most caring and considerate professionals I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. My surgery was perfect!
– Maureen Proudman

I never had a doubt that I was in the right place for my reconstruction surgery.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a devastating ordeal. I would only wish that every woman that has to hear the words “you have breast cancer” has a surgeon on their side like Dr. Elkwood. The staff at the Plastic Surgery Center went above and beyond what a patient should expect in service and caring professionalism. I would highly recommend Dr. Elkwood because no matter what the dilemma, he would calmly and confidently get you through it. I never had a doubt that I was in the right place for my reconstruction surgery.

– J.W.

“one of the best doctors in this area.”

My experience with Dr. Rose and his staff was amazing. They came highly recommended. After speaking with him and his staff, I knew I would be in great hands. They all were very knowledgeable, caring, and treated me as though I was the only patient! I had a very pleasant recovery after my breast augmentation due to this fact. So many people have asked me who my doctor was and I proudly said “one of the best doctors in this area.”

– Kerry Lamentino

I couldn’t be happier with the results.

I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Wimmers. He has all the qualities I was looking for in a plastic surgeon. Not only is he a very skilled plastic surgeon but he is compassionate and has a great personality. I couldn’t be happier with the results. Dr. Wimmers is an amazing doctor.

Carmen B.

Never change Dr. Schneider…

When I came to see Dr. Schneider, I was very afraid. Her care and her staff lifted my spirits. She’s a little angel from the ones closest to God. She’s like very few people I’ve met and she always tries to be humble and approachable because she does not ignore the pain and anguish of her patients. Never change Dr. Schneider, that God has a crown in heaven for you.

Lucia Martinez

…this is unbelievable.

Again, thanks for everything….this is unbelievable. I am going to try to come up in August to see you and Dr. Cole.

– Dar Thompson
Phrenic Nerve Injury

So for your work, your kindness, and compassion I felt with each and every visit, I thank you.

Let me start by saying thank you Dr. Russell Ashinoff and staff so very much for the kind and friendly way you have treated me from the beginning as a new patient and cancer survivor. As you know I have had a great deal of medical treatments over the years with a number of doctors. I can safely say you and your staff are by far the best. The work you have done for me is great. It has improved my life, confidence, and body 100%. You have totally restored me back to the women I once was before breast cancer. Probably even better then I was. Usually visits to the doctors is not a pleasant thing for me, however, you and your staff have made me happy to come to all of my appointments. You have answered all of my questions and have been there each and every time I have called in with even more questions. So for your work, your kindness, and compassion I felt with each and every visit, I thank you.

God blesses each and every one of you!

God blesses each and every one of you!
– Janis M. Hunter

One year has passed and because of you I now have a greater confidence than I had before.

I am writing this note to let you know what a wonderful doctor and person you are. In November of 2010 I received the horrific news that I had breast cancer. Thru my shock came the fear that my life would be changed forever. I would never have the confidence that I once had because my body would not be the same anymore. It would be different, and I , and everyone around me would know that. I didn’t know how I was going to face that dreaded day on January 3, 2011 when I would have my mastectomy.

Thru the Grace of God, I found you. You made the unbearable reality an easier process to face. Not only did you reassure me with your kindness and patience, you showed me what a truly caring person you are.

One year has passed and because of you I now have a greater confidence than I had before. (who would ever think that could be possible) Thank you Dr. Patel. Because of you I made it thru this hurdle, and you made it much easier than I would have ever imagined.

Wishing you and your family a VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!!!
– Annette Corcoran

Annette was diagnosed with right breast cancer in December, 2010. She underwent a right skin sparing mastectomy and immediate TRAM flap reconstruction in January,  2011.  Subsequently, Annette has had nipple and areolar reconstruction as well as minor symmetry procedures. She is currently finished with her reconstructive process and is very happy with her new breast, the symmetry and normalcy she has regained.
Dr. Tushar Patel

Dr. Patel advised me of everything that would be done and left nothing out.

I was operated on 6/16/11 by Dr. Patel.  I was very comfortable being in his care.  He was kind, sincere and attentive to my questions and needs.  I was pleased with the results of my surgery.  When I first had my consultation visit, Dr. Patel advised me of everything that would be done and left nothing out.  He also advised me that he would work with my insurance company, which was a big plus.  I would recommend Dr. Patel very highly.  His assistant, Deanna was a treasure, she was always there whether  I called or had a visit to answer any questions I might have.  Dr. Patel is lucky to have her.  The rest of the staff was always pleasant, kind and cooperative to anything I might have needed.  Thank you to Dr. Patel and his staff for a comforting experience.

–Jennie Livich

Dr. Ashinoff is my 1st , 2nd and 3rd choice.

I had major abdominal surgery that required plastic surgery to close.  Dr. Ashinoff did a wonderful job explaining the entire process and all potential conflicts.  When the skin graft did not take, he explained the procedure and how it was not the “end all” to my surgeries and also fully explained what occurred.  Dr. Ashinoff performed my ostomy reversenal and did a wonderful job.  The extensive procedure was fully explained and the after care was all that could be asked for. If I ever need plastic surgey again, Dr. Ashinoff is my 1st , 2nd and 3rd choice.

– Michael Stogdill

The reconstructed area looks great.

Dr. Kaufman and all the staff I had contact with at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction were caring, compassionate and helpful.  I had a complication with a reaction to the stitches and got extra care dealing with it and did not get an infection during the healing, which was a possibility.  I saw Dr. Ashinoff every other week and he was great too.  The reconstructed area looks great.

– Bertha Field

I look about ten years younger.

I have had shoulder problems for years. Dr Kaufman performed a breast reduction and did an excellent job. He also did work on my face and neck. I look about ten years younger. I highly recommend him.

– D.S.

Dr Ashinoff was successful doing a skin graph which literally saved my leg.

I was referred to Dr. Ashinoff for an infected non-healing diabetic foot wound on my heel. I had been treated for over a year before seeing the doctor. The orthopedics wanted to amputate my leg, but Dr Ashinoff was successful doing a skin graph which literally saved my leg. I will always be grateful for his expertise.
– Daniel Cairos

I’m very grateful to Dr. Kaufman and his staff.

I’ve been to many plastic surgeons because of my disorder. When I developed breast cancer I was directed to Dr. Kaufman. Not only is he an excellent surgeon, he’s compassionate and helps you feel at ease. His staff is very accommodating to your needs and making appointments that fit around your work schedule. They are always pleasant. I’m very grateful to Dr. Kaufman and his staff.

– B.R.

Dr. Rose is absolutely amazing!

Dr. Rose is absolutely amazing! I couldn’t have chosen a better surgeon. He takes his time and is completely honest with you. The office staff is amazing as well! The staff is always friendly in the office or over the phone. They treat you like family instead of a patient. I know for a fact that if I had gone to any other surgeon for my surgery I would have been extremely disappointed with the outcome.

– Jenny

I am truly grateful.

In December of 2009 my world turned upside down. Breast cancer is certainly a huge pill to swallow. Dr. Rose was recommended to me for the reconstruction part of my surgery. The fear and anxiety I felt through the entire process was a natural part of my journey. I must say, the first visit to the office was a reassurance that I was under the best care I could hope for. The comforting and understanding manner immediately made me know that everything would work out in the best way possible. And it has. No one wants to hear the “positive” word when it concerns cancer. Dr. Rose, on the other hand, has been a very positive part of the past eighteen months. As well as quality personal care, the quality of your work is outstanding. My thanks to you and your valuable staff for all you have done. I am truly grateful.

– Maryann Marini

My doctor and his staff made my experience of having reconstruction of both breasts a hopeful and positive one.

My experience with the Institute For Advanced Reconstruction at the Plastic Surgery Center helped make my journey of having breast cancer twice, not so traumatic. My doctor and his staff made my experience of having reconstruction of both breasts a hopeful and positive one.

– Jean Cronin

Dr. Rose relieved the loss of feeling in my left leg.

The first contact with Dr. Rose’s staff rapidly puts you at ease. His staff is engaging, efficient and experienced. Dr. Rose relieved the loss of feeling in my left leg. Normal feeling is returning as well as normal function. Would recommend him highly.

– Robert Kirwan

At 55 years old, I never thought I could look this good!

I first met Dr. Matthew Kaufman years ago as an intensive care nurse taking care of one of his phrenic nerve stimulator patients post op (who did very well). Three years ago, I started a healthier lifestyle and lost 105 lbs. A year ago I had robotic abdominal surgery to remove a gastric tumor– fortunately benign. But the combination of the surgery with the loose skin from weight loss created very painful abdominal adhesions and cramping. My surgeon sent me to Dr. Kaufman. I am so glad he did, because the results are incredible! He was able to repair the adhesions and remove the excess abdominal skin. While I was at it, I had a breast lift and implants. At 55 years old, I never thought I could look this good! I highly recommend Dr. Kaufman!

– Kathleen Nicoll

It makes me so happy to know that others can experience this “miracle”

I had a paralyzed diaphragm due to a surgery in which my phrenic nerve was damaged. It left me in a wheelchair and unable to do little more than just take care of my personal needs. Due to Dr Kaufman’s skill, I was given my life back and am enjoying my family and activities once again. It makes me so happy to know that others can experience this “miracle,” and I am trying to get the word out about this surgery. By the way, I am 71 years old, so it’s never too late!

– Barbara

Barbara, whose surgery was on September 3, 2010, is out of the wheelchair and doing well. Of Dr. Kaufman’s nearly 70 phrenic nerve surgeries (as of 12/2012), Barbara was #14.

After all these years of trying just about everything, we had almost given up hope.

Most of all we really thank Dr. Rose for helping Frank. After all these years of trying just about everything, we had almost given up hope. So we are very thankful that Dr. Rose was able to help us out.

– E.S.

E.S. is the wife of a patient who suffered crippling neuropathy in his feet.

Kristen Kuczenski

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.

Sincerely,
Kristen Kuczenski

*Occipital neuralgia is chronic head pain in areas that correspond to the greater occipital nerves, which extend from the spine to the scalp.

View Kristen’s video testimonial here.

I can never thank Dr. Matthew Kaufman enough for restoring so much of me to me.

Dreadfully, the right side of my face was paralyzed during a surgical procedure. My facial features were distorted and out of place. I looked hideous. My right eye and mouth did not function properly or comfortably. I felt ruined, hopeless and depressed- especially after I was told my facial damage was permanent. I wanted to hide from others.

Dr. Matthew Kaufman took me on as a patient (a challenge). He performed a complicated and difficult surgery on me. He retrieved some of the lost functions and lost feelings in my right “dead” face. He improved the placement of my skewed facial features.

I can never thank Dr. Matthew Kaufman enough for restoring so much of me to me.
MY FACE
MY SELF IMAGE
AND THE HOPE- I HAD LOST.

Heidi L. Bowman

Janice S

Dr. Rose,

I wanted to somehow find a way to say “thank you” for the integral part you have played in my life this past year. I decided the best way I could say thank you, was to simply say it.

Working in healthcare myself, I realize how much mundane and “everyday” the plights of others can become. On a daily basis, we treat people who are going through some of the most difficult times in their lives and since it is so commonplace for us, it would be easy to make these patients feel as though we don’t care. Neither you, nor your staff, especially Karen and Nicole, ever made me feel that way. Your attention to my needs was and continues to be “dead on”.

We never know the many other torches a person may be holding in their lives, unrelated to their medical issues. I went through a divorce after 28 years of marriage. In addition, my daughter suffered a terrible automobile accident, and my son underwent severe personal problems as well. Through it all, I had had by my side a wonderful man whom I will marry next fall. My fiancé and I are very passionate about our intimacy and being able to feel “whole” again has meant more than you can possibly know.

What I am trying to say with all of this is: no one at the Plastic Surgery Center knew all of my difficulties. You didn’t need to, but you all made my life so much easier by caring for me so wonderfully and with such skill and compassion. I am okay with the aging process but yet I am very dedicated to maintaining my appearance as best I can. You have given me my body back, my self-esteem and thereby my sex life. I can never say adequately how much the reconstruction means to me. I can only say thank you and that you have touched my life in ways that you cannot imagine.

With respect and sincere thanks,
Janice S.

Thomas Fols- Phrenic Nerve Surgery Testimonial

All my life I have worked hard and played harder. With playing so hard I have experienced several injuries. The injury I sustained from snowmobiling while in Potter County, Pennsylvania most probably was what injured my phrenic nerve.

In approximately the last two and half years, I have had several doctor visits being treated for upper respiratory problems. While doing my initial complete physical, my primary physician discovered that I had a paralyzed diaphragm. After several tests and being placed on nighttime oxygen, it was decided that I see another doctor at the Temple Lung Center in Philadelphia. After confirming the diagnosis he recommended seeing Dr. Matthew Kaufman for a consultation.

The Plastic Surgery Center (Institute for Advanced Reconstruction) mailed information, patient forms etc. They were completed, along with any tests, x-rays etc. that I had pertaining to my current condition.

My initial visit took place in May 2013. Dr. Kaufman told me at the time that he thought he could help me, but wanted current testing done. Upon completing an MRI, Sniff Test, EMG, and chest x-ray, I was advised that I was a candidate for phrenic nerve surgery.

On June 28, 2013 the surgery was performed at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Having had several surgeries in the past, this was the first elective procedure for me. When I awoke in recovery, I gathered my thoughts and took my first deep breath. I cried, just as I am now writing this testimonial, as it was a life changing moment. It’s difficult to put into words these feelings; if you have had a “changing” moment you will understand.

Everyone at the hospital and especially Dr. Kaufman’s staff were the utmost professionals. I felt like they were as happy or happier than me of the results so far. I feel the operation will be common in the future.

If I did not elect to have this surgery I would still be suffering medically, and be forced to shut down my Electrical Contracting business.

This surgery improved my quality of life, and has given me a completely new attitude about everything.

God Bless Dr Kaufman and his staff.
Thomas Fols

Kathie Cooper – Foot Drop Testimonial

I was tripping and falling on occasion, which gradually got worse with time. I wasn’t sure at the time what was going on and attributed it to just getting clumsy in my older years (I’m 65). I wasn’t sure if my hip was out of alignment and I should see my chiropractor, or what to do. Last September, I was walking with my son and daughter-in law, who walk rather fast, and she asked me why I was limping. I told her that I wasn’t, and she assured me that I was. At that point, I wasn’t sure how long it had been going on. I then went to my GP and we discovered that I had foot drop. The thinking was that the problem had to be coming from my back, so I had an MRI done and was referred to a neurosurgeon, which I think in hindsight was unnecessary. He told me that although I have some spine issues this problem wasn’t stemming from my spine, and sent me to a neurologist to have nerve testing which revealed that I had a compressed nerve. On my return visit to the neurosurgeon, this was confirmed and I was then referred to Dr. Rose. He decompressed the nerve and in very little time my problem was completely resolved.

I should also add that I had taken several pretty bad falls at work and they were trying to get me to take a disability leave until the problem was resolved. They sent me to the company doctor who told me that since my job description didn’t specifically mention, “walking,” he could not suggest a disability leave. At that point, I was already in the process of looking into the problem anyway.

After surgery with Dr. Rose, I can also enjoy taking brisk walks with my husband without fear of falling and keep up with my grandkids. It’s interesting how such an impairment can change the way you do or do not do your activities. Most of all, I realize how fortunate I was to find a doctor in my area that could do this procedure, as one can be hard to find.

Dr. Rose did an incredible job of solving my problem in no time at all. The staff was extremely courteous and friendly. I would highly recommend them to anyone who might have need of their services. I’m so relieved to finally have the problem resolved, especially since I also have osteoporosis and fibromyalgia, so not only were these falls very painful (not to mention embarrassing and threatening my job performance) but they also posed a danger to me of possibly breaking a hip. I had no idea that such surgery as Dr. Rose performs exists, and would have never thought to consult a plastic surgeon. I thank my neurosurgeon tremendously for the recommendation to Dr. Rose.

– Kathie Cooper

I thank them all.

From my initial visit, through surgery and follow up, the standard of care was excellent. I have enjoyed steady improvement and expect to return to normal activities soon. My confidence and satisfaction with my surgery and everyone I encountered at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction are unqualified and I thank them all.

Patrick

I am so grateful to God and to Dr. Kaufman for a renewed life.

In just two hours time, my life changed completely! I went from an active lifestyle of tennis, fast walking and ministering several times a year in Rwanda to a daily struggle to breathe. Trips to Africa and swinging a tennis racquet became distant memories. It all began with a shoulder injury.

In November 2013, I had rotator cuff surgery to repair tears. The anesthesia block in my neck resulted in a trauma to my phrenic nerve which in turn resulted in diaphragmatic paralysis. A long list of doctors had no answers for me and offered little hope for change, until I met Dr. Matthew Kaufman.

Dr. Kaufman, a man with the unusual mix of a brilliant mind and a kind, comforting manner, explained his cutting-edge nerve by-pass surgical remedy. He explained the procedure in great detail and exercised exceptional patience with my questions. Dr.Kaufman skillfully performed the surgery on my nerve in November, 2013, with doctors from Europe there to observe. My recovery has been excellent. Dr. Kaufman’s staff, (Heather O’Neill in particular), has been outstanding.

It is now March, 2014, and I am on my way to recovery! I have finished respiratory therapy, and am working with a trainer at the New York Sports Club. It fills me with joy, and to know that I will be able to return one day to the people I love in Rwanda, take fast walks in New York City with my friends and pick up a tennis racquet again. I am so grateful to God and to Dr. Kaufman for a renewed life.”

Marita Dowell

The surgery was excellent and her follow-up care was wonderful.

I consider myself very fortunate to have found Dr. Schneider. A previous attempt at breast reconstruction by a different surgeon failed, and, after many months of healing and several months of searching for a surgeon, I found Dr. Schneider who agreed to perform a DIEP flap reconstruction. She was a pleasure to talk to and was highly informed and practiced in this procedure. The surgery was excellent and her follow-up care was wonderful. The best!”

J.M.

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Yalena

So for your work, your kindness, and compassion I felt with each and every visit, I thank you.

This was very emotional for me. I really didn’t realize before I started saying it out loud and writing it down how much you all have helped me and really changed my life. To have my body ravaged from breast cancer was a lot for me. But at the same time happy and grateful to be alive and still here. However, it was a depressing thing for me to go through and really I was having a difficult time dealing with it on an every day basis. So to put how much I appreciate what you have done for me, I really don’t think can be done. I don’t know if I can find enough words to express how I feel and how much you have changed my life. But I certainly can explain the procedures and how each one made my body look different and so much better each and ever time. The bottom line is I love my body and life again because of Dr. Ashinoff and his staff.

Let me start by saying thank you Dr. Russell Ashinoff and staff so very much for the kind and friendly way you have treated me from the beginning as a new patient and cancer survivor. As you know I have had a great deal of medical treatments over the years with a number of doctors. I can safely say you and your staff are by far the best. The work you have done for me is great. It has improved my life, confidence, and body 100%. You have totally restored me back to the women I once was before breast cancer. Probably even better then I was. Usually visits to the doctors is not a pleasant thing for me, however, you and your staff have made me happy to come to all of my appointments. You have answered all of my questions and have been there each and every time I have called in with even more questions. So for your work, your kindness, and compassion I felt with each and every visit, I thank you.

My surgery was perfect!

Dr Ashinoff along with his staff are fabulous! They are the most caring and considerate professionals I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. My surgery was perfect!

Maureen Proudman

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Dr. Patel you and your staff are truly my dream team. From Amber at the front desk, Jodi my surgery coordinator, and what can I say about Deanna? She’s the best! You not only physically put me back together, but, with your kindness and patience, helped me through a difficult journey. Dave and I will forever be grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Theresa Reid

Thank you to the entire staff at The Plastic Surgery Center for their kindness and professionalism.

I am eternally grateful to Dr. Russell Ashinoff and his partner Dr. Patel. I severed literally all of my nerves and every soft tissue with the exception of one artery. Because of the superior work these physicians did, I have use of my right hand and have returned to work as a critical care RN. Also, the nurse Micky, was very responsive to any questions that I had and nurturing as I went through the emotional changes of the healing process. Thank you to these medical professionals. Also, Thank you to the entire staff at The Plastic Surgery Center for their kindness and professionalism.

Angela Moss

I am very pleased.

In February 2011, I had basil cell cancer removed from the side of my nose right cheek. Dr. Tushar Patel of The Plastic Surgery Center performed my closure. The result is amazing. I feel there are no signs of the cancer removal or closure procedures. Dr. Patel and the entire staff at The Plastic Surgery Center were courteous and professional. My entire experience was positive. I am very pleased.

Joan

I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me and my family.

I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped me and my family. I am looking forward to the operation, as I have missed out on lots of activities I did prior to this illness and want to return to work as soon as I am able.

Read Patient Story

Don Bird

Today I’m feeling great and my shoulders and back feel fine

Sometimes I get a little emotional. I’m a single parent with an 18-year-old daughter, so I’ve had to focus on keeping my job and health insurance. It definitely has been hard, but I’m grateful to be alive…

Read Patient Story

Kathy Leonard

I have the utmost respect for him.

Before it was hard for me to function. My oxygen level at the time of my surgery was only 37%…Now it’s 98%. All my doctors are amazed and my family is very relieved. It’s remarkable…

Read Patient Story

Julia Cooke

This guy saved me…

Kaufman_phrenic_nerveDr. Matthew Kaufman of The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction is flanked by Dar Thompson of Peachtree, Georgia (left), and Russell Garrison of Bedford, Indiana. Dr. Kaufman successfully performed surgery to repair the phrenic nerve in both patients. Thompson, age 48, the CEO of World Gym Fitness Centers in Fayetteville and Peachtree, Georgia, struggled for six years with fatigue and poor lung function before finding Dr. Kaufman. “This guy saved me,” says Thompson of Dr. Kaufman. Thompson, who says he looks and feels 20 years younger from the relief he has gained, reports he was at 50% of his work level prior to surgery, and a year after surgery is now able to play competitive ice hockey and perform at 95% of maximum capacity. Russell Garrison, a 42-year-old commander of the Indiana State troopers, is pictured here a mere five days after his surgery. Like Thompson, he continued his training program despite the shortness of breath and inability to maintain his stamina. Says Dr. Kaufman of these two supremely fit patients, “Following phrenic nerve surgery I think fitness helps the rehabilitation of the diaphragm (which is compromised by an injury to the phrenic nerve that causes paralysis). After all, at least one study showed that the diaphragm muscle begins to deteriorate even 12 hours of inactivity.”

We are now post 18 months from the surgery and I feel we have hit a magical point in the process of total recovery.

About a month ago I began to have muscle spasms in my lower thorax and upper abdominal region. The spasm is located just under the medial side of my last (lowest) right rib. At first I thought it was my heart but soon realized where the spasm was located. This event was fairly consistent over a 15 day period, sometimes 5 or 6 occurrences per day. The diaphragm continues to go into spasm on occasion

Has you and I discussed on several occasions, regarding potential nerve growth (1 cm per month), it appears that there is a major increase in conduction in the diaphragm over the past 10 days. My breaths are much easier and much deeper than they were only one month ago. It’s like the dimmer has slowly been getting brighter and brighter over the last year-and-a-half but now it’s been turned all the way up. I thought I felt good after the surgery and all the months thereafter but this latest improvement is off the charts compared to the overall process.

In conclusion, these latest events have made my breathing much easier and effortless while at rest. My intuition tells me that my phrenic nerve has recovered about 95% since the procedure in December of 2009. I feel that the majority, if not all, of the nerve tissue has regenerated and all that remains is strength of conduction and recondition of the diaphragm muscle itself.

I hope this information may be helpful in current and/or future patients.

I am really looking forward to the day when my breathing is back 100% …

After being diagnosed with phrenic nerve palsy, put on oxygen therapy, and told there was nothing I could do, I found the Plastic Surgery Center on the internet. I made an appointment and met an enthusiastic and energetic Dr. Kaufman who told me of a procedure he had performed approximately 25 times with a 75% success rate. I immediately scheduled the surgery. After a couple of tests to confirm my diagnosis I had the surgery on February 2, 2011. At the time I awoke from surgery I was already breathing better. Now 5 months after my surgery I am back to about 80% of where I was before my injury. I would like to thank the Plastic Surgery Center, Dr Kaufman and The Jersey shore Medical Center for restoring my quality of life. I am back to work now, have not been on oxygen since I left the hospital, and have returned to assisting the coaching on my sons baseball team. I am really looking forward to the day when my breathing is back 100% and I can return to all of the things I have not been able to do for the last 2 years.

Frank Tarvin
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