the moment everything changed

In September of 2017, Ronnie was working at a sawmill when his arm was accidentally caught in a conveyor belt, resulting in amputation of most of his arm. Adjusting to life after this devastating injury was difficult, but about a year after the injury, he also started to suffer from phantom pain. Progressively, the pain continued to get worse. By November of 2018, it was unrelenting.

Pain after a traumatic injury is understandable, but after months with no relief, Ronnie realized he needed to find someone who could help. Fortunately, he was referred to Dr. Ducic, a nerve specialist from the Washington Nerve Institute.

addressing the source of pain

Dr. Ducic explained that several nerves injured as the result of the amputation were causing Ronnie’s chronic arm pain. Rather than offering a temporary solution like pain medication, Dr. Ducic recommended surgical nerve repair. During the procedure, he would remove the source of the pain—several neuromas (masses of scar tissue that form in the nerve and can disrupt normal nerve function) that had formed—and then repair the nerves to restore more normal nerve function.

a fresh start

Dr. Ducic explained that because nerves are destined to grow, he needed to provide a structure for them to regrow more properly or neuromas might recur. After removing the neuromas, Dr. Ducic reconstructed the nerves by connecting them to nerves located in Ronnie’s muscle. In order to make that possible, there were large gaps that needed to be bridged. Dr. Ducic used Avance® Nerve Graft to bridge those gaps, allowing Ronnie’s nerves to regenerate and restore normal signals to his brain.

“We really live in a new era of nerve surgery,” said Dr. Ducic. “Prior to Avance Nerve Graft, it would have been very difficult to reconstruct nerves like I was able to do in Ronnie’s case.”

Nerve repair surgery gave Ronnie his life back. Today he’s back on the job and adjusting to his new life, pain-free.

Dr. Ducic is the Medical Director for Axogen Corporation.

could surgical nerve repair help you?

If you’re facing chronic pain after a traumatic injury or a surgical procedure, 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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