Peripheral Nerves

A Brief Introduction to Peripheral Nerve Surgery

Neurologic surgeons perform procedures to the nerves outside the spine. Conditions requiring treatments include trauma, and tumors, but by far the most common indications are pressure from adjacent anatomy.

Compression of the median nerve in the wrist, known as carpal tunnel syndrome, is the most common nerve condition requiring surgery. The condition can produce wrist discomfort involving the first three fingers which may interfere with sleep. The nerve is compressed under the transverse carpal ligament near the wrist. Older procedures to divide the ligament required long incisions in the palm which were tender healing and required a long period of limited hand activity. Minimally invasive neurologic surgery employing the microscope have made the procedure much smaller with faster recovery. The next most common procedure is decompression of the ulnar nerve in the elbow for tardy ulnar palsy, also known as cubital tunnel syndrome. This condition can produce tenderness to the elbow with numbness and discomfort to the fourth and fifth fingers. In cases that do not respond to conservative measures, the condition can be treated with a simple outpatient procedure. Recent research shows that the simple decompression operation is more successful than bigger more complicated procedures.

Less often nerve conditions treated by decompression include the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve which produces a discomfort to the outside of the thigh known as meralgia paresthetica. Another condition can cause discomfort to the inside and bottom of the foot caused by compression of the tibial nerve in the tarsal tunnel known a tarsal tunnel syndrome. Again as for most of these conditions, they can be successfully relieved by simple outpatient surgery with very low risk.

Peripheral Nerve Surgery Recover

The recovery time after peripheral nerve surgery varies greatly depending on the procedure as well as the individual patient. It is important for patients to regain mobility to. For more information regarding your expected recover time please make an appointment with one of our neurosurgeons.