discover options to repair nerve damage
Nerve repair is possible. Depending on your nerve injury, there are a number of surgical options available.
understanding your surgical nerve repair options
cut or laceration
If you experienced an injury where the nerve was cut, nerve signals can no longer get through. For this type of injury, the goal is to reconstruct the nerve and bridge the gap that was created, so the nerve can regenerate and signals to and from the brain can be reestablished.
If you have carpal tunnel or a similar compressive syndrome, the goal is to free the nerve from the tissue that’s pressing on it to relieve pain and restore proper nerve function.
Stretch injuries occur when nerves are extended beyond their normal limits, causing internal damage to the nerve structure. Think of the nerve like a rubber band—there are limits. This injury can happen after a car or bike accident, fracture, sports injury or inadvertently during surgery. The type of nerve repair required depends on the extent of the damage.
A neuroma is a tangled mass of nerve and scar tissue that can form when a nerve is injured either from a traumatic or surgical injury or after amputation. Not all neuromas are painful, but when they are, the pain experienced can be debilitating and even chronic. During this type of nerve repair, the neuroma is removed to stop pain signals to the brain, and then the nerve must be properly repaired or reconstructed to help ensure that a neuroma does not reoccur. In some cases it may also be possible to restore the lost function.
How fast will I heal?
Be patient with yourself and your body during this time. While you wait for sensation and or motor function to return, remember that nerves regenerate at a rate of about 1–2 mm per day,1 so the time it will take for you to notice a difference will depend on the location of your injury; e.g., if you injure your hand, it may take five to six months for the feeling or movement to return. If the injury is larger, it can take longer. It depends on how far the nerve has to grow and regenerate. Consider taking videos of the injured area every few weeks or make note of small changes along your recovery so you can remind yourself of the progress.
what to expect
Nerve regeneration can feel a little strange at times, but mild discomfort is good news and a sign that your nerve is regenerating and starting to work again. This may include hot or cold sensations and some sensitivity, little zings or zaps, or an aching or tingling feeling at the level of the growing nerve fibers. The location of this sensation should move as the nerve heals or grows. Over time these feelings should subside and the areas will begin to feel more normal.
find a nerve surgeon
Connect with a nerve surgeon to evaluate your options.
could I have nerve damage?
Explore how nerve damage can happen and learn about how different nerves work throughout the body.
healthy peripheral nerves allow us to
1. Grinsell D, et al. Peripheral nerve reconstruction after injury: a review of clinical and experimental therapies. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:698256.