anything but routine

Beth had an old high school injury that occasionally required surgical “clean up.” This was typically a routine procedure. However, after Beth’s most recent visit to her surgeon, she’d begun experiencing electrifying jolts of pain in her foot throughout the day. Normally very active, Beth found the pain debilitating.

“I couldn’t step on my foot or really use it at all,” Beth said.

life on hold

Unable to take care of her farm or do the things she loved, Beth began to feel depressed and increasingly hopeless. She decided it was time to seek help. While doing internet research, she stumbled upon Dr. Thomajan, a surgeon who specializes in nerve injuries.

“At my first appointment, he stood outside the doorway and just looked at my leg and knew there was a severe nerve injury going on,” Beth said.

After closer inspection, Dr. Thomajan confirmed his suspicions. Beth’s previous surgeon had damaged the main nerve to her foot, causing a painful neuroma to form—a tangled mass of scar tissue mixed with broken and damaged nerve fibers. Not all neuromas are painful, but others, like Beth’s, cause unbearable, life-altering pain.

a smarter approach

Instead of managing the pain with medication, Dr. Thomajan recommended repairing the source of the pain through surgical nerve repair. This involved removing the neuroma, in order to stop the pain signals to the brain.

During the surgery, Dr. Thomajan identified and surgically removed the neuroma. To bridge the gap created by its removal, he used Avance® Nerve Graft, which would provide a healthy structure for the nerve to regenerate. This technique made it possible to remove the painful stimulus and restore the normal signals to the brain.

fast fix

Almost immediately after surgery, Beth felt better.

“The next day I knew there was a change,” she said. “Even with the extensive surgery that was performed, the pain dulled in comparison to what I had been in. For the next few weeks, while everything was healing, I had no pain. I could get on crutches and move around. I could cook for the family again. It was absolutely amazing. I even went out to the animals when I wasn’t supposed to.”

Beth is now pain-free and back to her busy life on the farm and her favorite hobby—endurance horse racing.

“The conditioning took a while, but overall, I am so physically fit right now,” Beth said. “I have a 60-mile race ahead of me. I cannot wait. The horse looks good. I’m feeling good. I have high hopes.”

Dr. Thomajan is paid consultant of Axogen Corporation.

could surgical nerve repair help you?

If you’re facing chronic pain after a traumatic injury or even a routine surgery, answer these questions to determine if you’re a candidate, and get connected to a surgeon who may be able to help.

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