The Center for Nerve Injury and Paralysis at Washington University School of Medicine is led by the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in collaboration with the Department of Neurology. This multidisciplinary group of surgeons and other specialists is dedicated to providing the best possible treatment for patients with peripheral nerve injuries â€” which impair function in the legs, arms, hands and feet â€” through a strong tradition of clinical excellence, innovative research, and dynamic teaching.
The medical staff of the center includes plastic and reconstructive surgeons, neurologists, therapists, and researchers who are specially trained in â€” and have extensive experience with â€” the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries. One of these premier individuals, Susan Mackinnon, MD, chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, is a pioneer in nerve surgery who has developed a number of nerve transfer techniques in which healthy nerves are rerouted into areas left paralyzed by damaged ones.
Dr. Ida Fox leads the program for nerve transfer surgery to restore some hand function in motor level C6/C7 spinal cord injuries.
Dr. Thomas Tung specializes in complex brachial plexus and nerve reconstructions, nerve transfers and facial nerve injuries requiring nerve repair; and functional muscle transplantation for facial reanimation and upper and lower extremity functional reconstruction.
Dr. Mackinnon and the centerâ€™s other surgeons treat a full range of peripheral nerve injuries. Neurologists, physical therapists and physiatrists also provide treatment for conditions that cause pain, including migraine headaches and trigeminal neuralgia.
The center not only is one of the few in the country dedicated to treating peripheral nervous system injuries, but also contributes to research in the field. This includes both basic science research and clinical studies of peripheral nerve injury in order to provide the best possible and most innovative treatment for nerve injuries.