Nerve decompression is a procedure performed to relieve pressure of a nerve. Patients who are experiencing any combination of burning and tingling sensations, nerve pain, muscle weakness, or numbness typically are diagnosed as having peripheral neuropathy.
Before seeking treatment here at the office of Dr. Eric H. Williams, a primary care physician or specialist should conduct an evaluation to exclude non-peripheral nerve-related conditions.
Common reasons for neuropathy include surgery, physical trauma, diabetes and other autoimmune disorders, vitamin deficiencies, hypothyroidism, and certain drugs (including ones used in chemotherapy). It is very important that you undergo medical treatment for these conditions, and it is followed in the manner your treating physician has prescribed. In the event you are still unable to find relief from nerve pain, Dr. Williams may be able to help. At that point, you may be—depending on Dr. Williams’ assessment of your situation—an appropriate candidate for nerve decompression surgery.
Nerve Decompression in the Upper Extremity
There are patients who present with numbness in the fingers or hand—either with or without muscle weakness—due to compression of the nerves. Several anatomical sites along the upper extremity can be the location where compressed nerves cause functional hand problems (including numbness and weakness). Diabetic individuals may have these symptoms even when optimal medical care is being provided.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Numbness in the first three fingers of the hand (which is attributed to median nerve compression at the wrist)
- Numbness in the 4th and 5th fingers or hand weakness (which is attributed to ulnar nerve compression at the elbow and, rarely, the wrist)
- Radial nerve compression
Another potential source of concern with regards to nerve compression in the upper extremities is forearm pain with weakness in hand dorsiflexion or finger extension from either radial or posterior interoseus nerve compression at the proximal anterolateral forearm. If the radial sensory nerve is compressed at the mid-distal anterolateral forearm (Wartenberg’s disease), then numbness along the top of hand and fingers is frequently presented.
Lower Extremity Peripheral Neuropathies
Similar to patients who have upper extremity problems, patients with lower extremity nerve compressions may experience numbness, pain, and a burning sensation involving the leg or foot. As in the case of upper extremity neuropathies, diabetic patients frequently have these symptoms despite receiving appropriate medical care.
Examples of several anatomical sites and issues from lower extremity nerve compression include:
- Foot drop, top of the foot numbness, and pain that worsens with physical activity (usually accompanying a history of previous knee trauma or ankle sprain)
- Meralgia paresthetica
- Numbness, pain, and burning sensations along the anterolateral thigh (due to compression of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve at the anterior superior iliac spine and inguinal ligament)
- Peroneal nerve compression
- Sciatic nerve piriformis
- Tibial nerve and tarsal tunnel syndrome
Some individuals experience bottom of the foot numbness, pain, and burning sensation due to tibial and inner ankle nerve compressions. Tibial nerve compression can also be present at the posterior proximal calf area. Tarsal tunnel syndrome tends to be common in diabetic patients.
Surgical Treatment of Entrapment
It is well documented that symptoms of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, including nerve pain, can be relieved by peripheral nerve decompression. What actually happens during nerve decompression surgery, though?
Once the affected nerve is identified, using proper microsurgical instruments and techniques, anatomical structures overlying the nerve (tunnels) are incised. Release of tight fascial bands, tissues, or vessels pressing on the nerve allow a more normal nerve function and regeneration, along with subsequent reduction or even elimination of neuropathy symptoms. During neurolysis, the affected nerve remains uncut and no major manipulation of the nerve is performed. In the case of advanced neuropathy or nerve damage, surgery may fail to reverse pre-operative conditions, which demonstrates why timely intervention is so important in nerve surgery.
Nerve Decompression Procedures in Baltimore, MD
A compressed nerve can cause an array of pain and problems for you. If you have undergone conservative care for these issues, without finding the relief you need, you may benefit from the nerve decompression services provided by Dr. Williams. For additional information, or to request your appointment with our office, give us a call at (410) 709-3868 or contact us online today.