nerve damage treatment options
determining nerve treatment
If you suspect nerve damage, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional. He or she may want to measure the extent of nerve injury to inform nerve treatment recommendations. Testing techniques include:
- 2-point discrimination: A noninvasive procedure that tests a patient’s ability to feel the difference between two points on the skin
- Monofilament test: A noninvasive procedure that places different-sized monofilaments on the skin to determine how small of a filament the patient can feel
- Sensitivity test: Uses stimuli, such as heat and cold, to see if a patient can feel them
- Ultrasound: A noninvasive test that uses sound waves to generate an image of the nerve
- MRI/CT: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) exams provide a detailed view of the body in the area where nerve damage is suspected
- NCV: Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) measures how well electrical signals are conducted through the nerves
- EMG: An electromyogram (EMG) exam determines how well a motor nerve is working by measuring the electrical activity present in a muscle
treating nerve damage
Depending on the type of nerve damage, your doctor will provide recommendations for treatment. Read about treatment options for different types of nerve damage below.
The goal for severed nerves is to reconnect the nerve and restore signals between the body and the brain along the full length of the nerve.
Nerves must be repaired with no tension on the nerve. If the nerve ends are close together and the tissue is healthy, a surgeon may suture the ends directly together.
A nerve from another area of the body is surgically removed and used to bridge the gap in the injured peripheral nerve and to guide the healing nerve fibers as they grow. The donor site from the transplant is left with a permanent loss of function. The donor site is selected carefully to minimize the impact.
processed nerve allograft
A human peripheral nerve is donated through the tissue donation process. It undergoes rigorous screening, processing to clear and remove cells, and is sterilized before use. Like the nerve autograft, it is used to bridge a gap in a peripheral nerve to guide the healing nerve fibers as they grow.
hollow tube conduit
A hollow tube conduit is made of collagen or synthetic material and is used to connect the nerve ends and hold them physically together. It has no inherent guidance for nerve fibers and is typically used for very short gaps (5 mm and less) between the nerve ends.
A surgeon may transfer a functioning nerve to take over an area of lost function. The transferred nerve delivers signals to the damaged nerve end. However, this means that there is a loss or a reduction of function from the donor site.
A nerve cap is used to protect and isolate the nerve end from mechanical stimulation and surrounding tissue
crushed and compressed nerves
The goal for crushed and compressed nerves is to relieve pressure and inflammation, as well as soft tissue attachments that may inhibit nerve movement.