Savannah surgeon helps gunshot victim walk again with new procedure

Health News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A Savannah resident who suffered debilitating pain after a gunshot wound is now able to walk again, thanks to a pioneering medical procedure from a local surgeon.

After David Murphy was shot in the leg twice during a home invasion, he suffered severe pain for months.

“That night was tragic,” Murphy said. “It felt light trapping lightning in a mason jar. That’s how it felt.”

The bullet severed his sciatic nerve, impacting his ability to walk.

“It was a terrible situation because he can’t walk, he had this traumatic event, and he can’t even sleep because he has severe pain every time he sits down or lies down,” Dr. Greg Kolovich of Optim Orthopedics said.

“So the first step in what we do with Axogen is we can reliably get people out of pain by going in and fixing the nerve,” he added.

Kolovich was able to repair the damage to his sciatic nerve using a new procedure that utilizes Avance Nerve Graft, which got rid of his pain and restored his ability to walk.

When a nerve is damaged after an injury or even after routine surgery, a neuroma, a painful mass of scar tissue, can form in a nerve. During this procedure, the neuroma is removed to get rid of the pain and stop pain signals to the brain.

The nerve is then repaired using Avance Nerve Graft to allow nerve fibers to regenerate. The goal is to restore normal signals to the brain and allow patients to regain their quality of life.

“So I thought if I could get him out of the pain that would be a win,” Kolovich said. “And we were able to do that pretty easily.”

Kolovich is the first surgeon in Savannah to offer the procedure that has the potential to help residents who are suffering from nerve damage.

“Right now, I feel great,” Murphy said. “I’m back to my normal self. I’m not one hundred percent, but I’m getting there.”

Murphy says he’s grateful to be pain-free and continues to regain motor function to his injured leg, thanks to Kolovich — allowing him to return to work, and play with his grandchildren again.

“I want to thank him,” he said. “I love him so much. I love this guy.”

“The doctor goes through it too,” Kolovich said. “Believe me, we cry together, we laugh together, there’s no one pulling for him more than me.”

Kolovich and Murphy are joining forces to increase awareness of this new procedure that can help those who may be living with chronic pain after traumatic injury.

Those like Murphy, suffering from nerve pain, in the Savannah area have a chance to feel more like themselves again and live pain-free after suffering a traumatic nerve injury. You can learn more about this pioneering procedure on Axogen’s website.

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