In order to preserve function when nerves are damaged, surgeons will repair them using microsurgical suturing techniques. However, surgeons are often not able to reconnect the nerve fibers due to a high level of local nerve destruction at the injury site. Instead, our surgeons use a combination of the following to repair the nerves:
- Nerve conduits (tubes to bridge small nerve defects)
- Nerve allografts (processed human nerve to bridge small-large nerve gaps
- Nerve allografts (used from the patient him/herself from other, less critical nerves)
You are a candidate for nerve reconstruction if you have acute or delayed nerve injuries, requiring restoration of the original nerve function. Some of the examples include:
- Hand/finger injuries with sharp objects (usually knife) resulting in scar, pain and/or numbness
- Traumatic or surgical injuries or any major upper or lower extremity nerve injury resulting in acute or delayed loss of the nerve function
- Nerve deficit following nerve tumor removal
- Patient with peroneal nerve neuropathy
An important consideration is that the repairs should ideally be done immediately (same day) as the nerve injury was documented. If that is not possible, every attempt should be made to perform nerve repair within three to four weeks. After that period, it's possible there will be irreversible loss of nerve function. Once the nerve is reconstructed, it recovers at a rate of approximately one half millimeter to one millimeter per day.
What to expect:
- Your surgeon makes an incision over damaged nerve in your skin to locate the nerve.
- Your surgeon pulls back the skin and carefully removes the damaged nerve.
- The wound is closed following nerve reconstruction