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Peripheral Nerve Surgery

Peripheral nerve disorders occur when peripheral nerves sustain damage. This damage can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, loss of sensation, and balance problems. One of the ways to alleviate these symptoms is to undergo peripheral nerve surgery.

Periphery nerve surgery involves repairing damaged nerves to help restore signals that they carry. Depending on the condition, the surgeon may use different techniques to deal with the damage.

While your doctor will explain all the procedure details, understanding the basics can help you ask the right questions.

What Is Peripheral Nerve Surgery?

Peripheral nerve surgery is an operation that repairs nerve damage. The goal is to restore function, alleviate pain, and improve the patient’s quality of life. Your doctor may recommend peripheral nerve surgery if conservative treatments don’t help with your symptoms.  

The surgery duration can vary depending on its type. Usually, the operation takes between two and five hours. Some of these surgeries, especially the decompression procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis.  The majority of them are performed under general anesthesia. 

Types of Peripheral Nerve Surgery

Depending on the causes and types of peripheral nerve damage, your doctor can suggest one of these surgeries:

Nerve Repair 

This type of surgery can help if you sustain a peripheral nerve injury. It involves reconnecting the ends of the severed nerve. During the procedure, the surgeon aligns the nerve endings and sutures them together under magnification. Peripheral nerve repair surgery works best when the nerve is severed cleanly.

Nerve Grafting 

If there is a gap between the severed nerve ends, nerve grafting may be able to help. The surgeon will take a graft from another part of your body, such as a sensory nerve from your leg, and use it as a bridge between the damaged nerve ends.

Nerve Transfer  

If the nerve sustains severe damage, you may need a nerve transfer. It involves taking a healthy nerve (not a part of it as in grafting) from a place near the injury site and using it to restore the damaged function. The use of nearby nerves contributes to a more efficient recovery.

Nerve Decompression 

Some peripheral nerve disorders, including carpal tunnel syndrome, happen because of the pressure applied to the nerve. Causes of this pressure vary from anatomical structures to repetitive stress.

The nerve decompression surgery involves relieving pressure on the affected area by cutting or repositioning the surrounding tissues.

If scar tissue forms around the damaged nerve and keeps it from regenerating, the surgeon may suggest a procedure called neurolysis. It can remove scarring and help the injured nerve heal.

Recovery from Peripheral Nerve Surgery 

The peripheral nerve surgery recovery time depends on such factors as:

  • Your condition before the surgery
  • The surgery site
  • Type of surgery

In many cases, you can resume many regular activities in just a few days. However, it can take from 9 to 12 months for the nerves to heal fully.

If your condition caused mobility deficits, physical therapy and other rehabilitation techniques can help improve the function of areas that were affected by nerve damage.  

Address Nerve Damage with Peripheral Nerve Surgery 

If you are experiencing symptoms caused by nerve damage, peripheral nerve surgery could help improve your quality of life. Depending on the underlying condition and the extent of damage, the surgeon can suggest one of the most suitable surgery types.

At the Pain Institute of Middle Tennessee, we have a world-class surgical team with experience in all types of peripheral nerve operations. To talk about your options, please request an appointment today.