Newswise — Andrew Elkwood, MD, FACS and Matthew R. Kaufman, MD, FACS, leading plastic and reconstructive surgeons at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center, will present new findings based on their work in advanced reconstructive techniques for people with spinal cord injuries and pain disorders at two upcoming scientific meetings. Dr. Kaufman will present his research on innovative techniques to reverse ventilator dependency on April 15 at the American Spinal Injury Association Annual Scientific Meeting in Philadelphia. On May 21, he will also present his latest findings on the use of nerve decompression surgery for patients suffering from post-traumatic headache at the 8th World Congress of the World Institute of Pain, in New York. Dr. Elkwood’s May 21 presentation at the World Institute of Pain Congress will draw on his 20 years of experience in treating chronic pain and paralysis with microsurgery to discuss numerous types of cases in which microsurgical treatment and diagnosis have proved effective.

“Our presentations at these major scientific meetings demonstrate the world-class care physicians at our Institute provide, which we are always looking to improve upon by gathering, analyzing and presenting data,” said Dr. Elkwood, Institute senior partner. “Our patients benefit greatly from our active participation in research, and from our exchange of ideas and information with peers from around the world at these global gatherings of scientists and clinicians.”

At the American Spinal Injury Association meeting, Dr. Kaufman will discuss “Diaphragm Muscle Replacement With Implanted Pacemaker to Reverse Ventilator Dependency in Cervical Tetraplegia.” His presentation will define which patients with cervical spinal cord injury are least likely to have success at eliminating ventilator dependency; discuss current surgical options, including the implantation of diaphragm pacemakers, which are available to some patients with tetraplegia (injury to the spinal cord in the cervical vertebra, causing paralysis of all four limbs) who would otherwise be ventilator-dependent; and discuss a novel procedure, called diaphragm muscle replacement, as a potential safe and effective option for progressive or complete diaphragm muscle atrophy in cervical tetraplegia with ventilator dependency.

Dr. Kaufman pioneered a phrenic nerve graft procedure for diaphragm paralysis, using nerve graft techniques that have been utilized in reconstructive nerve surgery for more than 30 years, and has perfumed this procedure on 250 patients from across the globe. The sural nerve, a nerve from the patient's calf, is usually used. He is also the first surgeon to perform diaphragm replacement surgery in conjunction with nerve grafting and placement of a diaphragm pacing device. “With the advances we have made, many patients can now be weaned off of ventilators,” said Dr. Kaufman, a partner in the Institute. “This enables them to live a better, more independent life and reduce their risk of infections and other serious complications.”

The topic of Dr. Elkwood’s World Institute of Pain Congress scientific presentation will be: “The Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Microsurgical Perspective.” Dr. Elkwood will draw on his many years of experience in using microsurgery – surgery performed on tiny structures such as nerves and blood vessels, with the assistance of a microscope – in treating pain and paralysis in various parts of the body. He will present cases involving lower extremity, pelvic, trunk, postoperative, breast, torso and headache pain in which he has successfully treated chronic pain and limited or eliminated the need for other surgery. He will also discuss how microsurgery can help identify the cause of chronic pain.

Dr. Elkwood is an internationally known expert in nerve reconstruction for patients who have lost use of a limb due to nerve damage, and is a leader in microsurgery, limb replantation and microsurgical reconstruction after cancer.

Also at the World Institute of Pain Congress, Dr. Kaufman will present: “Nerve Decompression Surgery for Post-Traumatic Headache: A Report of Microsurgical Techniques, Intra-Operative Findings and Surgical Outcomes.” Headache known as “post-traumatic headache” (PTH) is the most common complaint after trauma to the head or neck. Dr. Kaufman will discuss cases in which PTH patients who had not been helped by medical treatment benefitted from nerve decompression surgery. These patients had debilitating headaches for an average of eight years before being treated by Dr. Kaufman.

Dr. Kaufman is one of the most experienced surgeons in the U.S. who uses nerve decompression surgery to treat PTH, migraine and occipital neuralgia. Nerve decompression surgery for these conditions involves a minimally invasive incision near the nerves in the head and neck region that cause or contribute to headache symptoms. Headache trigger point sites are identified and “relieved” by meticulously removing muscle, fascia (tissue lining) and blood vessels from the areas in which the nerves travel. In doing so, the nerve is no longer “irritated” and the trigger point is alleviated.

In addition to their positions at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center, Drs. Elkwood and Kaufman are Co-Directors of the Center for the Treatment of Paralysis and Reconstructive Nerve Surgery (which Dr. Elkwood founded) at Jersey Shore University Medical Center (Neptune, NJ). Both also hold clinical teaching appointments: Dr. Kaufman is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Medical Center, while Dr. Elkwood is Associate Professor for Surgery at Drexel University.

The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction offers world-class reconstructive treatments, from new advances in nerve reconstruction for paralysis to state-of-the-art, more natural methods of breast reconstruction. For more information on The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, call 866-266-2577 or visit: (NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To receive embargoed study abstracts or speak with Drs. Elkwood or Kaufman, email [email protected].)