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Creating the Bionic Woman: Making Nerves Spring Back to Life
Date:10/28/2007

e've successfully performed these operations."

Plastic surgeons are using the nerve transfer technique to help amputees gain better control and move their prostheses. Often, there is little muscle left following an upper arm amputation, making it difficult to maneuver the artificial limb. Surgeons are transferring the remaining nerves in the upper arm to chest and back muscles, allowing those muscles to help control and power prostheses.

Plastic surgeons are also making remarkable progress in peripheral nerve treatments that restore symmetry to patients with facial paralysis and in pain management -- particularly for diabetics and migraine headache sufferers.

Tissue walls in the feet of some diabetics can become stiff over time and tighten around nerves. Constricted nerves are also a cause of migraine headaches. Plastic surgeons are freeing the space around these nerves to relieve pressure and alleviate pain or numbness.

Patients with facial paralysis, due to trauma or tumors, often lose the ability to use facial muscles around the mouth which leads to asymmetry or a permanent frown. Having a permanent frown may negatively impact people's perceptions of an individual. Botox(R) can be used to paralyze the normal functioning muscles while patients have physical therapy to strengthen the damaged muscles and restore symmetry to the face.

"The steps we are taking in peripheral nerve surgery are dramatically changing the way patients are treated and positively impacting their lives," said Ivica Ducic, MD, ASPS Member Surgeon and course instructor. "Considering what we've accomplished over the last several years, we are definitely entering into a new age of reconstructive plastic surgery."

Visit http://www.plasticsurgery.org for referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons and to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is t
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SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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