Peripheral Nerve Surgery | MedStar Health

In order to preserve function when nerves are damaged, some surgeons will repair them using microsurgical suturing reconstructive techniques. However, surgeons are often not able to reconnect the nerve fibers due to a high level of local nerve destruction at the injury site.

Instead, our surgeons use a combination of the following to repair the nerves:

  • Nerve conduits (tubes to bridge small nerve defects)

  • Nerve allografts (processed human nerve to bridge small-large nerve gaps

  • Nerve allografts (used from the patient’s other, less critical nerves)

You are a candidate for nerve reconstruction if you have acute or delayed nerve injuries requiring restoration of the original nerve function. Some of the examples include:

  • Hand/finger injuries with sharp objects (usually knife) resulting in scar, pain, and/or numbness

  • Traumatic or surgical injuries or any major upper or lower extremity nerve injury resulting in acute or delayed loss of the nerve function

  • Nerve deficit following nerve tumor removal

  • Patient with peroneal nerve neuropathy

An important consideration is that the repairs should ideally be done immediately (same day) as the nerve injury is diagnosed. If that is not possible, every attempt should be made to perform nerve repair within three to four weeks. After that period, it's possible there will be irreversible loss of nerve function.

Once the nerve is reconstructed, it recovers at a rate of approximately one half millimeter to one millimeter per day.

What to expect

  1. Your surgeon makes an incision over the damaged nerve and pulls back the skin.

  2. Your surgeon locates the damaged nerve and carefully removes it.

  3. The wound is closed following nerve reconstruction.