Breakout: Dr. Justin Brown

He’s talking about the surgery that can restore hand function — nerve grafts described earlier this morning.

Limit to one or two nerve transfers, don’t expect to be able to play the guitar, do expect to be able to use a pen and pick up a fork and hold a cup.  Expect to have to work at it, all day long, all the time until the connection kicks in.

Just had a long chat with him about how this works . . . he’s done 3 patients, and the interesting thing is that he gets tons of inquiries but most of the people don’t follow through.

To be clear, he’s talking about a minimal surgery that takes a working nerve from the elbow or arm of a quad and uses it to restore their hand function.  People don’t like the idea of losing anything that they’ve got left . . . and they don’t like the idea of having their normal routines interrupted even for a little while, which is what a four-week no-stress period would be like.  You’d have to be ready for that.

And then there’s a months-long grind of re-training those re-enervated fingers.  But in the end you have function that you didn’t before.

Okay.  Just to be clear, this is about taking an elbow or arm nerve that’s still enervated from the cord and attaching its end to a peripheral nerve in the hand so that the connection gets made from brain to fingers.  It’s a solution that Justin has shown works better than the tendon transfer; the surgery is simpler, the non-use time is shorter, and the results are better.

He’s in San Diego, looking for patients right now.  You all should have a look at the video that u2fp will put up from his talk this morning if you’re interested.  There’s a news story on youtube right now, and his contact information is here.

And with that, friends, we’re wrapping up another day.  Tomorrow morning there will be a tour at the RIRC, and then it’s back to the real world for all of us funsters.  I’ll bring the laptop and see what I can capture on the fly.

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One Comment on “Breakout: Dr. Justin Brown”


  1. […] be able to play a guitar, but you’ll be able to hold a pen . . . “) for quads.  Dr. Justin Brown is currently looking for […]


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