Treatment for Peripheral Nerve Injuries
The treatment approach to peripheral nerve problems depends upon the nature of the problem. Many injuries, particularly “stretch injuries” will recover without requiring surgery. Some injuries, especially severe stretch injuries or lacerations, will require surgery to repair or reconstruct the affected nerves.
With respect to brachial plexus birth injuries, the majority of babies affected by this condition will make a full recovery with therapy alone, while others may require extensive therapy and possibly surgical intervention. Treatment initially includes:
- Specialized occupational therapy to maintain motion and prevent joint deformity in the affected arm.
- Specialized splints may be required to protect the joints from developing deformities.
In some cases, botulinum toxin (Botox) is used to temporarily weaken “functioning” muscles that are contributing to joint deformity. After the Botox is given, intensive therapy is used to help strengthen the “weakened” muscles and place the shoulder in a better position.
If the injury is severe, surgery may be required to release affected nerves from surrounding scar tissue, repair/reconstruct damaged nerves, or transfer “redundant” nerves to stimulate muscle function.
Additional procedures that may be recommended as children grow, include release of tight muscles or joints, tendon transfers, or joint fusions.
Read more about the different approaches to treatment below:
A Botox or Dysport injection is an injection of botulinum toxin (which causes temporary paralysis) into a muscle to relieve spasticity and involuntary movements.
Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Reconstruction
When peripheral nerves are unable to heal on their own, surgery is typically required to free them from scar, or it may be performed to repair or reconstruct them. Reconstruction of injured nerves can be performed with grafts from another part of the body, or transfers from a working muscle to a non-functioning muscle.
Nerve grafts are segments of nerve or nerve-like material that are used to reconstruct damaged nerves in the body.
Nerve Laceration Repair
A nerve laceration refers to a nerve that is cut, usually from an accident or injury. Nerve laceration repair is a surgical procedure that is used to repair the injured nerve.
A nerve transfer is a surgical procedure that is used to reconstruct a damaged nerve.
Occupational therapy is a form of therapy that helps people rehabilitate through exercises and other means in order to perform their ordinary, daily tasks or work-related functions.
Physical therapy is a form of therapy that helps people rehabilitate through exercises, stretching and orthopedics in order to regain the mobility and function of their bodies.