The peripheral nervous system comprises all the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord; these include the nerves in your face, chest, arms, legs, and abdomen. These nerves are an integral part of the human system since they relay information between your brain and the rest of your body. The peripheral nerves are fragile and can easily be damaged due to surgery, injury, or conditions like diabetic neuropathy. When one of these nerves is damaged, you may experience chronic pain affecting your quality of life. The good news is that peripheral nerve surgery San Bernardino can help alleviate the pain caused by damage to the peripheral nerves.
Surgery for chronic pain
Surgery can effectively treat some causes of chronic pain. But chronic pain due to trauma, sports injuries, accidents, and surgery unresponsive to first-line treatment methods may be due to damage to the peripheral nerves. Most often, patients consult various specialists and engage in several therapies such as orthopedic treatment, medications, spinal blocks, or physical therapy without significant relief. Medications can reduce or mask the symptoms, but chronic pain due to peripheral nerve injury rarely improves with medications.
New techniques like peripheral nerve surgery have proven effective at reducing or eliminating pain for patients with peripheral nerve surgery.
Preferred candidates for peripheral nerve surgery
You may discuss peripheral nerve surgery with your doctor if you have chronic pain in a specific area that hasn’t improved with nonsurgical methods like medications or physical therapy. Good candidates are also those who have had a prior workup by other specialists, including pain specialists, physical medicine doctors, orthopedic surgeons, or neurologists, without discovering the exact cause of the pain.
Diagnosis is necessary before the procedure to determine the extent of nerve damage. Your doctor may order an electrical conduction test such as electromyography or nerve conduction velocity to determine the passage of electrical currents through the nerves. These tests are sometimes done during surgery when the patient is sedated. Diagnosis may also involve imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and MRE neurography.
You may not be a good candidate for surgery if you smoke, recently quit, or are exposed to second-hand smoke. Primary and secondary smoking lessens blood supply to body tissues, causing complications like infection, prolonged wound healing, skin loss, and increased scarring.
Preparing for Surgery
Once you have established your eligibility for surgery, your medical team will give you preoperative-operative instructions; this explains everything you should and should not do as you await surgery. Your surgeon will send you home with specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery. This includes guidelines on eating and drinking, taking or avoiding certain medications, and smoking. You also want to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery, regardless of whether your surgery is done on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Ensure you have someone to help you at home for a few days after you leave the hospital. Following all the preoperative-operative instructions is essential to avoid complications during and after surgery.
For further inquiries about peripheral nerve surgery, consult your provider at Ali H. Mesiwala, MD, FAANS.