He has now retired from the clinical practice of Plastic Surgery and Peripheral Nerve Surgery. I will start off by stating that there is nothing that I could say that would actually serve Dr. Dellon justice or to adequately describe the amazing impact that he has had on the field of Plastic Surgery and Peripheral Nerve surgery. To give an example --- his personal CV is over 110 pages.
It would take that many pages and more to fully describe the impact that he has had on our field. He has been a pioneer and true thought leader in our field for over 40 years. He has taught countless residents, physicians, podiatrist, and therapists about the peripheral nervous system and disease. He has written over 600 peer-reviewed papers, several books, and hundreds of book chapters. Some of his books have been translated into several different languages. He has taught countless lectures, on far more continents, in far more countries than most people will ever have a chance to visit in their lifetimes.
I meet Dr. Dellon in 2007 when I joined him for a year long Peripheral Nerve Fellowship. I had just finished 7 years of training, 5 years in General Surgery, and 2 more years in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. I wanted one more year of advanced Fellowship training so I could gain a very focused area of expertise. I saw an ad for his Fellowship and flew back to Baltimore to meet him in the city I had gone to medical school in, and where incidentally, I had met my wife.
I remember going to see him and wondering “what is this field of peripheral nerve surgery?” And I was a plastic surgeon for goodness sake. I thought the only interesting thing about nerves is that they allowed you to feel, have pain, move fingers, toes, ect. How interesting could that be? Carpal tunnel surgery, sew a nerve together after a knife injury, and if they have other problems – send them to pain management; or something like that. Well I was very ignorant, and very wrong. After my two day trip to visit and follow him in clinic and watch him operate, I was hooked. I was convinced that this is what I was going to do. So… I joined him for the following year. I subsequently worked with him for two more years and then became a partner in the practice. I have been working in the same practice ever since, trying to learn as much as possible from him.
Dr. Dellon is truly a legend, visionary, master clinician, gifted teacher, and pioneer. Never one to avoid controversy, he redefined how we can care for patients with foot pain and numbness in patient’s with diabetes and other forms of neuropathy, how we see and examine and treat patients previously diagnosed with RSD or CRPS (Chronic regional pain syndrome), encouraged an entire new generation of surgeons the engage and treat patients with peripheral nerve injuries causing pain and dysfunction, and many other areas.
While he may not be operating any more, his desire to continue to spread wisdom and knowledge of the care of patients with peripheral nerve injuries and nerve entrapments still burns as bright as ever. I am 100% confident that will be on the forefront for many years to come. It is just in his nature!
I wanted to thank Dr. Dellon for all that he has done on my behalf, the behalf of countless other physicians and podiatrist, all that he has taught, and for his crusade to improve the lives of those with peripheral nerve injuries. I also wanted to thank him for mentorship, guidance, and wisdom! Thank you!