Different causes of nerve injury
Nerve injuries can be categorized into three basic types: compression of the nerve, crushing the nerve and cutting the nerve. These must be carefully sorted out by the surgeon who will talk with you and carefully examine you. Additional aids such as monofilament testing and two-point discrimination may be used to more objectively evaluate sensation. In addition, electrodiagnostic testing which records conduction velocity of nerve impulses and identifies evidence of denervation may also help establish a particular diagnosis.
Repairing the damage
It is obvious to most that any reparative solution must be appropriate and proportionate to the problem. In certain cases of nerve injury it is appropriate to wait for a period of time and observe improvement. In other cases, such as cut nerves, an operation is required to repair them. In between these extremes are the decompression procedures which are performed to relieve pressure on a nerve.
In the case of nerve repair, the procedure is accomplished through the use of an operating microscope using extremely small caliber suture to minimize scarring thereby maximizing post-operative regeneration and function.
If you have a history of motor nerve injury that occurred years prior, there may be surgical options to improve your function. These can be discussed in detail during your consultation.
Recovering from nerve injury
While the skin and other soft tissues heal relatively quickly, nerves regenerate at the rate of about 1 mm per day or about an inch per month. As result, recovery time varies greatly and the return of motion or sensation will be gradual.
After a nerve repair you may be placed in a splint to reduce tension on the fresh repair. Additionally, you will be in a rehabilitation program with a hand therapist who will carefully supervise your motion while protecting the nerve repair.
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