Nerve Graft

A nerve graft is a procedure used to repair a disconnected nerve using healthy nerve tissue sourced from another part of a patient’s body (autograft) or a cadaver (allograft). The grafted nerve tissue bridges the split ends of the damaged nerve, filling the gap and helping the nerve tissue regenerate. This surgery is often used to restore feeling and nerve function after an injury that severs a nerve, such as a deep cut, animal bite, or severe fracture, or when treating certain nerve conditions.

Conditions Treated

  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Radial tunnel syndrome
  • Tendon lacerations
  • Nerve lacerations
Procedure Time
2 to 6 Hours
Treatment Location
In-Clinic / Our Surgery Center (outpatient) / Hospital (in-patient)
General Anesthesia
Recovery Time
Initial: 3 to 6 Months / Maximum: 12+ Months

Benefits of Nerve Grafting

Successful nerve graft procedures help patients regain function and feeling after experiencing nerve damage due to an injury or illness. 

  • Regenerate Nerves
  • Restore sensory feeling and motor function 
  • Improve your ability to use and control your injured hand or arm
  • Reduce numbness, tingling, pain, or muscle weakness 
  • Avoid permanent disability
  • Return to normal activities

Are you a candidate?

If you sustained an injury that disconnected a nerve or experienced severe nerve damage due to illness, you may be a good candidate for nerve grafting. However, patients who smoke, use alcohol excessively, take certain medications, or have certain chronic diseases may not be able to safely undergo this type of surgery. Our nerve specialists will perform a comprehensive exam to determine whether this treatment option is right for you.

Find Your Surgeon

Our world-class surgeons combine decades of training and expertise with advanced training in microsurgery to perform life-changing procedures such as nerve grafting to restore sensation and function in the hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. As a focal point of our clinical practice, we perform hundreds of successful nerve procedures each year.

What To Expect


Depending on the extent of nerve damage, a nerve graft procedure may take several hours. You will be placed under general anesthesia to ensure you remain asleep and comfortable for the entirety of the surgery.


Depending on the extent of nerve damage, a nerve graft procedure may take several hours. You will be placed under general anesthesia to ensure you remain asleep and comfortable for the entirety of the surgery.

If your surgeon performs a nerve autograft, they’ll begin by making a small incision at the site of the donor nerve (usually the sural nerve in the leg) and removing a small amount of nerve tissue. If the surgeon sources a nerve through an allograft, they will process the tissue before implanting it into your body.

Next, the surgeon will make a second incision at the area of the disconnected nerve and carefully connect the severed ends using the grafted nerve. Then, they will make any other necessary repairs, close all incisions, and dress them to help protect your incisions as they heal.


Depending on your medical history, health, and the extent of the nerve damage you sustained, you may be able to go home a few hours after nerve graft surgery. However, some patients may be required to stay overnight for post-op monitoring. Your care team will provide after-care instructions, including how to clean and re-dress your incision. In most cases, your surgeon will recommend keeping them covered for a period of time to help reduce the risk of infection.



It will take multiple months for the reconstructed nerve to recover. Keep in mind that the further the damaged area is from your spinal cord, the longer it may take to heal. Once sensation returns, your surgeon may recommend physical therapy to strengthen surrounding muscles and help restore proper movement.

Real people. Real results.

Meet Melissa,

who regained the functionality of her arm thanks to an advanced nerve graft procedure.

Melissa demonstrated significant improvement in mobility and function of her previously paralyzed arm approximately nine months after undergoing a nerve graft procedure performed by Dr. Andrew Elkwood. During the follow-up appointment, she was able to perform various tasks like lifting her arm overhead, making a fist, and typing motions.

Patient Resources

Visit our Patient Resource Center online to access useful information such as intake forms, tips for your first appointment, ways to prepare for surgery, and more.


How long does it take for nerves to regenerate?

Nerve regeneration occurs at approximately 1 mm/day. So recovery of sensation and movement can be very gradual.

What are the risks of nerve graft surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, nerve grafts come with a few risks, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clot
  • Diminished nerve function at the donor site
  • Chronic pain
  • Scarring
  • Complications from anesthesia
Is nerve regeneration painful?

You may experience some tingling or electric shock-like feelings as your nerve regrows. These sensations are signs that the nerve fibers are actively healing and making connections.

HUES Surgeons

Restore Feeling, Function, and Freedom.