Whether due to an accident, a birth defect, or some other cause, body injuries cause debilitating physical effects that keep adults and children from making the most of their lives, working, playing, going to school, and enjoying time with family and friends. The reconstructive surgeons at Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Maryland, pride themselves on restoring their patients to wholeness, opening up possibilities that may never have existed and giving back lives that are rewarding and useful.
Learn about the types of body injuries and conditions treated at Hopkins:
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand. When those nerves are damaged, it is considered a brachial plexus injury. Injury can occur during birth, from tumors putting pressure on nerves, trauma (such as an accident), or inflammation. If you have a brachial plexus injury, you may experience pain or numbness, an inability to move your arm or hand, or a feeling of limpness.
Obstetric brachial plexus injury: In infants, brachial plexus injury most often occurs during an abnormal or difficult birth, causing damage to the brachial plexus nerves (shoulder dystosia). You can find out more about brachial plexus injuries on our Pediatric Injuries and Conditions page.
Lymphedema is caused by the buildup of lymph fluid, which causes nearby body parts, such as the arm or leg, to swell. This condition most often occurs due to injury, when lymph nodes are removed or become scarred, or if there is trauma to the lymphatic system. For example, some women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer develop lymphedema after the treatment.
While older surgical techniques have not successfully cured lymphedema, Johns Hopkins reconstructive surgeons have experience in new techniques that show promise in effectively treating it. In vascularized lymph node transfer, or lymphovenous bypass, the reconstructive surgeon moves lymph nodes from the groin area to the armpit and reconnects them to blood vessels. The new lymph nodes remove the excess fluid returning it to the lymphatic system. In lymphaticovenous anastomosis, the reconstructive surgeon uses microsurgery to join lymphatic channels in the affected area to nearby veins.
This surgical treatment of lymphedema is not a cure-all, according to plastic and reconstructive surgeon Justin Sacks, but it has a low risk of complications and may alliviate discomfort for some.
Peripheral nerves are those located outside of your brain and spinal cord. When there is something wrong with peripheral nerves in some part of the body, it interrupts the signals between the spinal cord and brain and that part of the body. There are more than 100 kinds of peripheral nerve disorders.
One of the most common and well-known peripheral nerve disorders is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by nerve compression on the median nerve in the wrist and often occurs in people who do repetitive motions involving their wrists and hands. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, your symptoms may include pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in your hand or wrist, or up your arm. Other types of peripheral nerve injuries may stem from illnesses like viral infections and diabetes. In other cases, people are born with peripheral nerve disorders.
The decision to repair a peripheral nerve disorder through surgery is one that may be quite complex, depending on the type of problem, the severity of the pain, the severity of neurological symptoms associated with the problem, and how well other kinds of treatment have worked.
Find out more about peripheral nerve surgery at Johns Hopkins Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Our reconstructive surgeons bring experience and expertise as well as knowledge of the most effective and innovative techniques available, including muscle and nerve transfer that can restore function to parts of the body affected by the condition or injury.
Surgery for body injuries and conditions requires not just a skilled and experienced surgeon but also a team of doctors and nurses. At Johns Hopkins, our fellowship-trained surgeons can consult with and call on other knowledgeable medical personnel, from anesthesiologists and pediatricians to orthopedists and ear, nose and throat doctors.
They are devoted to their profession and to providing attentive patient care. From the first consultation to the final check-up, our reconstructive surgeons make themselves available and accessible to patients and their families.