Nerve Transfers

Also known as: nerve transfer surgery.

What are nerve transfers?

A nerve transfer is a surgical procedure that is used to reconstruct a damaged nerve. It is typically used for severe nerve damage that has resulted in loss of sensation or function.

What happens during the procedure?

The precise nature of the procedure will vary based on the location and severity of the nerve damage. Generally, a nerve transfer involves taking a nerve that serves one function close to the damaged area and “plugging” it into the damaged area. The transferred nerve develops a new function, sending signals to a new group of muscles, or restoring sensation to an area of the body that previously was completely numb.

Is any special preparation needed?

As with any procedure that may require general anesthesia, you may need to avoid food, drink and certain medications before the procedure. Several tests may be required before surgery to determine the appropriate nerve to use for the transfer procedure.

What are the risk factors?

Infection, bleeding, loss of sensation to areas of the body and failure of the transferred nerve to work in its new location are all potential risks of nerve transfers.

Reviewed by: Aaron Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: January 09, 2020 03:57 PM