Research Foundation Archive


June 2017 Surgical Trip

We returned to the wonderful city of Guayaqil, Ecuador at the end of May/early June to perform the surgeries we had scheduled during the April screening trip.  AENS had a few doctors in attendance during this trip, including our cheif director, Dr. James Wilton.  Accomanying him from AENS were Drs. Elison, Wynn, Basso, Neal and Rivadenera.  These physicians spent most of their time performing the lower extremity nerve release surgeries for our Hansen's patients.

To start our trip, we again met at the Damein House with Sister Annie and other patients to prepare for our upcoming surgical schedule.  Patients were anxious to complete their surgeries and receive the relief that they had been planning for.  We prepared for surgeries at the Hospital Luis Vernaza with Sister Annie, hospital staff and residents, hand surgeon attendings, and our veryown AENS lower extremity surgical team.  The group worked so well together and patients were incredibly grateful to have us there.

We immediately went to work, often performing simultaneous opposite upper and lower extremity surgeries in conjunction with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.  AENS surgeons performed a variety of procedures including soleal sling, femoral nerve, and tarsal tunnel releases.  These surgeries were done to decomress the inflamed peripheral nerves that were causing severe deformity and pain in our Hansen's patients.  In doing these procedures, our desired outcome was to prevent further deformity, relieve pain, and increase both sensation and strength.  

Upon completing a day of surgical tasks, we would meet with our post-op patients the following morning to assess the immediate results.  We were very pleased to see that our patients were in good spirits and very optimistic about their procedures.  They had notable relief of pain, increased sensation, and increased mobility in some cases.  This immediate relief is amazing for both patients and physicians alike!  We have been very pleased with the results of these surgeries and know that without the help of our team at Hospital Luis Vernaza, Damien House, ASSH, and AENS, we would not have had the incredibly success we had.

Our trip to Guyaquil, Ecuador resulted in many completed surgeries for relief of pain and other symptoms in our patients.  Wewere also able to participate in education discussions and presentations with fellow residents, staff, and physicians.  Dr. Wilton gave a presentation on Peripheral Nerve Surgery in the treatment of Chronic Pain.  We appreciate his dedication to this mission and all that he has invested in furthering the quality of life for those patients in Guyaquil.  We also appreciate the continued support of the AENS in our research and education in peripheral nerve surgeries and in these mission trips!

Dr. Elison leaves us with these words:

"Mission Accomplished!  Getting ready to leave Ecuador.  Had a very successful mission with excellent surgery results.  had a very touching ceremony with all surgery patients and their families tonight.  They are grateful and appreciative of our work!  We are all very blessed to be here to make a big difference in all their lives.  They have deeply touched all of our hearts.  A very special thank you to Sister Annie and her wonderful staff for hosting us!"


* For another detailed blog on our mission trip to Guyaquil, visit the ASSH's Blog for words from Dr. Bassett!  
Thank you to all volunteers, AENS, ENRF, and all donors!

April 2017 Screening Trip

​In April of this year, members of the AENS had the chance to screen over 100 Hansen's patients in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador.  During these screenings we evaluate patients who have been cured of the disease for neurologic deficit.  We also re-evaluate patients who have had surgery to assess their results.  We are very pleased with the results many of these patients are receiving as they have noticed almost 100% return of function and decreased pain.  

This year we were pleased to have three AENS physician volunteers participate in our screening trip.  Dr. Wilton is the lead physician who has orchestrated these trips in conjunction with the Damien House.  He also had Dr. Toni Neal and Dr. Nathan Larson accompany him on this trip to Guayaquil.  We appreciate these physician's time and efforts in furthering our foundations research efforts and mission trips.

Upon arrival in Guayaquil, we were pleased to meet with the Damien House's care director, Sister Annie, in regards to those patients who would most benefit from our services.  She was absolutely wonderful and accomodating, as always, making sure we had all the necessary items to evaulate our patients, and ensuring our comfort and success.  Through the years, Sister Annie continues to be a great blessing to the people in Ecuador and the AENS foundation as we coordinate these mission trips.

The three AENS physicians who were able to volunteer arrived late Monday evening with work beginning first thing Tuesday morning.  Patients were lined up and ready to be seen, anxious to hear whether our services would be able to help them.  As patients were brought into the clinic, we had wonderful translators available to assist in all communication with both physicians and family members.  Several of our translators were graduated medical students waiting for residency opportunities in America, making this a great opportunity for them to be able to participate in these screenings and further their knowledge and education.  Their assistance during this mission was vital to our success and interaction with our patients.

During assessments, physicians were able to evaluate both upper and lower extremity nerve function and/or deficit.  Both sensation and strength were assessed, as well as pain on palpation and Tinel's sign.  From Tuesday to Thursday, over 100 patients were screened and approximately 40 were scheduled for surgery.  These patients were scheduled for their surgeries on our upcoming surgical trip in June, which will be attended by both AENS members and Hand Surgeons.

Along with new surgical candidates, we saw several patients who previously had surgeries performed.  These patients were exceptionally pleased with their results and return to quality of life.  We even had the fun challenge of trying to identify some of the surgical scars as the surgeries had been performed so well as to leave almost no trace of the procedure!

As a team, we are very pleased with the outcome of our screening trip!  As we continue to plan our upcoming trips, we with to thank our gracious sponsors and those who have donated to our foundation.  Without your continued support, we would not be able to fund these trips and provide the relief these patients so greatly appreciate.  Thank you! 

The AENS Research Foundation is pleased to continue these screening trips in Ecuador under Dr. James Wilton's guidance, and hope to be able to provide relief to patients in the years to come.  For information on how to get involved or how to donate to our foundation, please email us at