Peripheral nerve surgery repairs your peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves branch out from your brain and spinal cord and run throughout your body. These nerves allow you to feel, see, hear and move.
Peripheral nerve surgery can help relieve conditions like:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Schwannomas (like acoustic neuromas) and neurofibromatosis type 1 and type 2
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Ulnar or peroneal nerve compression
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
Do You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?
Certain lifestyle choices (like smoking and drinking alcohol) and some diseases and conditions, like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, can hurt your peripheral nerves. Symptoms of this damage can include:
- Numbness or reduced ability to feel
- Pain, often a burning or sharp, cutting sensation
- Sensitivity to touch
- Muscle twitches
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty with walking
- Loss of coordination or balance
Over time, these symptoms can worsen and lead to peripheral neuropathy. If not treated, peripheral neuropathy can cause:
- Loss of muscle control and muscle atrophy (loss of tone and bulk)
- Blood pressure regulation problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Foot deformities
- Foot injuries that go unnoticed and become infected
- Difficulty breathing
Do You Need Peripheral Nerve Surgery?
At UVA, we use the latest testing tools to determine the best treatment for you. We’ll measure:
- Muscle strength
- Ability to feel vibration, temperature, and light touch
- Sensation in the feet using a fine, flexible wire
Managing Nerve Issues Without Surgery
Before resorting to surgery, we’ll look at other ways to address your nerve issues.
Often, treating the underlying illness can make your symptoms go away. For instance, controlling blood sugar levels may help if diabetes is causing the neuropathy. In some cases, avoiding medications or treating vitamin deficiency can completely relieve neuropathy.
Physical activity and physical therapy exercises can also help. Orthotics (supports and braces) may help with deformities, balance issues or muscle weakness.
We’ve also managed neuropathy with:
- Relaxation training
- Walking and other exercise
Peripheral Nerve Surgery Options
If you do need surgery, your options include:
- Carpal tunnel release (surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Internal and external neurolysis for the management of scars
- Surgical revision of painful neuromas
- Removal of nerve sheath tumors
- Surgical exploration of complex or scarred nerve injuries
- Nerve grafting