Nerve Injuries

Overview

Nerves are a part of our electrical wiring system that carries messages from our brain to the rest of our body. Motor nerves carry messages from the brain to our muscles, allowing our body to move. Sensory nerves carry messages from our brain to different parts of our body to signal pain, pressure, and temperature.

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged stopping signals to and from the brain. With damaged nerves, improper functioning and loss of feeling occur. Our nerves are composed of fibers called axons. These axons are separated into bundles. These bundles are surrounded by tissue layers.

Nerve injuries are caused by pressure or stretching that cause fibers within the nerve to break. When a nerve is cut, varying degrees of damage to the nerve occur. New fibers may grow or may form a painful nerve scar called neuroma.

Nerve Cell

Neuron – Nerve cell

Neuron, nerve cell that is the main part of the nervous system. Cross section detailed anatomy, nucleus and other organelles of the cell.

Treatment

Dr. Stowell may perform surgery to save the insulating cover so that new fibers can grow and the nerve can work again. He does this by sewing the insulation around both ends of the injured nerve together. If there is a space between the ends of the nerve, a nerve graft from a different part of your body may be used to fix the injured nerve. This may cause permanent loss of feeling in the area where the donor nerve graft was taken.

Once the insulating cover of the nerve is repaired, the nerve will generally heal three or four weeks after the injury. Nerves usually grow one inch every month depending on the patient’s age and other factors. With an injury to a nerve in the arm above the fingertips, feeling returns to the fingertips within up to a year. During recovery, pins and needles feeling is common and can be uncomfortable but is a healthy sign of recovery.

Recovery

Joints need to remain flexible, so physical therapy is recommended. When joints become stiff, they do not work even after the muscles begin to work again. The brain may need to be re-educated with a nerve injury to improve feeling. Dr. Stowell will work with his in-house physical therapy team to design a rehabilitation program based on the nature and location of your injury. Proper treatment helps patients return to more normal function.

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