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Surgery Restores Movement to Kids With Polio-Like Illness

HealthDay reporter Dennis Thompson writes on the outbreak of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a mysterious illness that affects children's nervous systems and typically causes severe weakness in arms and legs. AFM is a subtype of transverse myelitis, a disease that affected HSS patient Kale Hyder, who became paralyzed from the chest down as an active teenager.

Kale underwent two nerve transfers and a tendon transfer surgery with Scott W. Wolfe, MD, hand and upper extremity surgeon at HSS, that helped him regain his independence.

"We've been able to take completely normal nerves and we can go into those nerves and find the individual cables within the nerves, and rather than taking the entire nerve, we'll just take a small splice and move them over," Dr. Wolfe explains. "We will not lose function in the nerve we borrow from, and we will gain function in the nerve we connect the splice to."

"It's a world of difference," says Kale. "I'm able to extend my fingers so much better and grip a lot better than I was able to before… I don't think I would have been able to do that without the nerve transfer surgeries."

Read the full article at HealthDay.com.

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