Penn Launches Region’s First Interdisciplinary Center Focused on Treating Nerve Disorders


PHILADELPHIA—Nerve disorders range from the very common—like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome—to the very complicated, such as Brachial Plexus injuries (an injury to the nerves that control muscles in the shoulder, arm, or hand) or nerve sheath tumors (which originate from the lining of the nerves and extend from the spinal cord into the body). In most cases, patients with these conditions are treated by a wide range of specialists, including neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and physical therapists. Unfortunately for these patients, experts don’t usually have a system to communicate with each other about their plans and treatments, often leaving patients to research for themselves, a process that can be very daunting to someone without extensive knowledge about nerve disorders and the healthcare system.

Today, Penn Medicine launches the Penn Nerve Center, which unites experts across disciplines to offer expert diagnosis and cutting-edge treatment for a wide range of nerve conditions including traumatic nerve injuries, nerve entrapment, nerve compression, and nerve tumors. The Penn Nerve Center is led by Zarina Ali, MD, MS, FAANS, an assistant professor of Neurosurgery, and L. Scott Levin, MD, FACS, FAOA, chair of the department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and a professor of Plastic Surgery in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Combining experts in neurosurgery, orthopaedics, plastic surgery, physical medicine and rehab, neurology, and radiology, the Center is the first of its kind in the region.

The team of specialists at the Penn Nerve Center is specially trained and skilled in addressing the rarest and most complicated nerve cases. “Penn Medicine hospitals rank nationally in neurosurgery and orthopaedics,” says Ali. “Our center is incredibly advanced in terms of diagnosis, surgical expertise, and training, which helps drive patient success.”

As most nerve disorders require care from a wide range of experts—from testing, to treatment, to surgery, and rehabilitation—patients can feel overwhelmed when trying to find and coordinate care. The Penn Nerve Center aims to streamline this process.

“When talking about nerves and muscles, time is of utmost importance. If we don’t diagnose and treat nerve disorders quickly, patients’ use of the affected muscle can become limited” says Levin. “By centralizing diagnosis and treatment in one center, we can efficiently evaluate, test and treat patients, and can collaborate across specialties to offer the best plans for care.”

In addition to providing care from specialists, the Penn Nerve Center will offer patient access to groundbreaking research and clinical trials across departments. “We are a clinical research powerhouse,” says Ali. “Paired with our unique expertise in nerve disorder treatment, we are proud to continue to develop and offer the most advanced care to our patients.”

The Center will be located on the 7th

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