Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from neuropathy, a chronic condition that results from damage to or compression of the nerves outside the spinal cord and brain. Also referred to as peripheral neuropathy, the disorder can manifest in different forms—as mononeuropathy when only one nerve is affected, and as polyneuropathy when many nerves are involved, often symmetrically on both sides of the body. With neuropathy, there is decreased sensation, numbness or tingling in the extremities serviced by these nerves. This loss of feeling can lead to wounds that don’t heal, infection and even amputation.
The condition can be caused by chemotherapy, traumatic injury, lead poisoning, alcoholism and diabetes among others. Diabetes is in fact the most common cause of neuropathy. In many cases, neuropathy occurs spontaneously and seemingly without cause.
Fortunately, in select cases neuropathy can be improved or reversed with nerve decompression surgery. Performed on an outpatient basis and taking less than an hour, the procedure involves relieving the pressure on a nerve by surgically removing the constricting tissue or bone, or widening the canal encasing the nerve. Decompression surgery is successful in relieving the symptoms of neuropathy in up to 90 % of well selected patients. The procedure is minimally invasive, requiring only small incisions over the affected area thus promoting a quicker recovery. Our surgeons are among the fewer than twenty plastic surgeons in the world that have been specifically trained in this surgery.
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