After surgery to remove her wisdom teeth, patient Madie Nicpon lost her sense of taste and felt a numbness in her tongue that caused her to bite it, sometimes drawing blood. She also developed a lisp. Eventually, her family turned to RSDM oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Vincent Ziccardi, who diagnosed damage to her lingual nerve and performed nerve graft microsurgery, resulting in complete recovery.
Nipcon was a tenth-grader in upstate New York when she noticed a loss of feeling in her tongue that grew worse each day. She watched her taste buds atrophy and developed deep gashes in her tongue from biting it unwittingly. Dr. Ziccardi, one of only a few specialists in the region who performs lingual nerve surgery, repaired the damage.
He grafted nerve tissue created with material from a donor that over months gradually allowed Nicpon’s deadened nerves to regenerate.
After four months, she began to notice a difference, first a tingle in her tongue, and then more sensation. “I could feel my tongue again,” said Nipcon. “It was so exciting.”
Watch the video of Nipcon’s story, created by AxoGen Corporation, a company that makes nerve graft material, here.