People often ask me, 'How did you get involved with peripheral nerve surgery after a plastic surgery residency at Harvard?' The answer comes in two parts. First, many people don't realize that plastic surgical training involves work with many types of soft tissues including, skin, muscle, fat, bone and yes, nerves. We would often get called upon to re-attach limbs that had been amputated in accidents and as part of those procedures we would repair the injured nerves in order to restore function and sensation. Secondly, in deciding what type of surgeon I would become and what I would do following my training, I happened upon a colleague and friend who was doing some interesting surgical work with patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy. I spent some time with him and did several operations with him during my Chief Residency year and after that experience, knew that I had found what I would ultimately do with my life. After a whole additional year of training focusing on and learning how to operate on peripheral nerves, I landed in the Bay Area and knew I had found my new home.
Given my passion for peripheral nerve surgery, I expanded my practice to include chronic headache patients, many of whom suffer from nerve compression very similar to that which I have been treating for several years. I now have several hundred peripheral nerve operations under my belt. My results with chronic headaches have mirrored those which I have seen with my other nerve patients and have validated my career decision. I genuinely feel that I make positive and substantive changes in peoples lives on a daily basis and this feeling is the reason I became a physician in the first place. My nerve patients are consistently amongst my most grateful and the satisfaction which comes from their improvement is impossible to put into words. I truly hope that other physicians feel as I do almost every day and hope to be able to continue this work with you and many other patients for years to come.
Ziv M. Peled, MD