What Are Examples of Peripheral Nerve Conditions?
- Post amputation Neuropathy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- PostOp Chronic Neuropathy (Unexplained burning and tingling after another surgery)
- Brachial Plexus Injuries
What to Expect From Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction Surgery?
Your nervous system spans your entire body. Nerves are the structures that allow you to move, to have sensation, and even have thoughts. The brain and spinal cord are the control centers of the body and are a part of a system called the central nervous system. Any nerves that are found outside of the brain and the spinal cord are known as peripheral nerves. You have these nerves in your abdomen and your chest, as well as in your arms and legs.
It is not uncommon for these nerves to become damaged. This may happen as a result of injury, surgery, or even medical conditions such as diabetic neuropathy. When the peripheral nerves become damaged, it can result in intense and lasting discomfort and loss of function.
When there is a problem with your peripheral nerves, the consequences can be severe. An injury to a peripheral nerve in your leg can affect your ability to walk. Diabetic neuropathy results in loss of sensation and can lead to amputations if not treated appropriately. An injury to the peripheral nerves in your hand can result in loss of dexterity. Compression from overuse can cause you to drop things or not be able to perform at work or your favorite hobbies. Unlike a salamander, who can regrow an amputated limb or nerve, humans do not have the potential to regrow limbs. However, that does not mean we cannot heal. With the help of reconstructive surgery from a specialist in hand and peripheral nerve surgery, you have the chance to heal. (Feel free to mess with this to make it sound better)
Ensuring Your Eligibility for Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction Surgery
One of the first steps in the process is meeting with a reconstructive surgeon who specializes in peripheral nerve surgery. He or she will review the details of your case and determine what is the best course of action to rehabilitate you. Often times this will involve nerve tests performed by our neurology and rehabilitation medicine colleagues. This will provide vital information on the signals your nerves receive and carry. After the appropriate tests are ordered, the reconstructive surgeon and you will come together and make a plan that best fits your needs.
Preparing for Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction Surgery
If you meet the criteria for peripheral nerve surgery, your plastic surgeon will walk you through the next steps for preparation. Specifically, your doctor will advise you to discontinue any medications that might contribute to bleeding, or impede your ability to heal.
Additionally, if you are a smoker, you will be advised to discontinue smoking for at least four weeks before your surgery and stay away from tobacco products afterward to optimize healing.
What to Expect During Surgery
Depending on your condition, peripheral nerve surgery can involve a multitude of techniques. There are endoscopic techniques that require minimal skin incision and surgery time. However, there are also microsurgical techniques that require powerful surgical microscopes to reconstruct the tiniest nerves of the human body. What you can expect is, based on your condition a specialist in peripheral nerve surgery can offer the entire spectrum of options that best fits your needs and preferences in order to restore your function.
What to Expect from Recovery
Unlike the salamander, who we know can regenerate even in the face of an amputation, the human body is a mystery. We continue to learn and innovate our techniques and someday complete regeneration may be possible. However until then, one must understand that recovery is a unique experience for each patient. It is dependent on the nature of your dysfunction, the repair, and your overall health as well. It is important to know, that sometimes even despite our best efforts, nerves do not cooperate. However, we offer the best care to guide you and will be with you at every step. Overall, it is not uncommon for nerve recovery to take months to years. During this time, we optimize all modalities available to give you and your nerves the best chance for success. This may include physical therapy, nerve stimulation, and even other surgeries to help healing accelerate.
Regardless of the surgery, you will likely want to take at least a week off from work to rest and recover. During this time, seek someone who can help around the house, allowing you to focus on healing. However, depending on the extent of surgery you may be advised to take off more time.
Some patients experience mild to moderate discomfort from their surgery. Your pre-op consultation is a good time to talk with your surgeon about pain management options so that your healing process is as comfortable as possible.
Find Out More About Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction
If you live with chronic pain, nerve damage may be to blame. Find out more about diagnosing and treating this condition by browsing our blog or contacting SuperGroup, PLLC at your convenience.