Testimonials: Phrenic Nerve

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

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

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

…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

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.

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

Phrenic Nerve Surgery Testimonial

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.

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Don Bird

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…

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Julia Cooke

This guy saved me…

Dr. Matthew Kaufman with Dar Thompson & Russell GarrisonDr. 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.
Dar Thompson
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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