Nerve decompression surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to relieve pressure caused by a neuroma—a pinched or entrapped nerve.

Patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy symptoms (numbness, pain, and/or functional loss) due to compressed nerves, who have not found relief through other, more conservative methods, may consider nerve decompression surgery. It is sometimes considered an alternative to a neuroma excision (completely removing the neuroma).

What to expect:

  1. Your surgeon makes a small incision in your skin.
  2. Specialized surgical instruments are inserted into the incision.
  3. Instead of completely removing the swollen nerve, your surgeon will relieve the pressure (decompress) by cutting tight tunnels around the nerve. This way, even though the nerve is still swollen, there is no pressure on it from surrounding structures in your body, enabling the nerve to start functioning normally again.

Examples of nerve decompression surgery include:

  • Upper extremities: Surgery for carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, or decompression of radial nerve
  • Lower extremities: Surgery for femoral nerve, peroneal (foot drop) nerve, tarsal tunnel release
  • Trunk: Thigh pain, burning or numbness (called meralgia paresthetica), release of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
  • Chronic migraine headaches: Decompression of nerves in the back, side and/or front of the head.
  • Diabetic neuropathy