When nerve injuries affect the hands or upper extremity, it can seriously impair your ability to function. Dr. Steven Bailey offers treatment of nerve injuries at The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery, serving the greater Atlanta, GA area.
What Are Nerve Injuries?
The nerves communicate messages to and from the brain and other parts of the body. With certain nerves, the brain carries signals to the body?s muscles, resulting in movement. In other cases, the nerves transfer messages from the body about pain, pressure, and temperature to the brain. If the nerves in the hands or upper extremity become injured, it can seriously impair a person?s ability to function.
Nerve Injury Symptoms
The symptoms of nerve injuries can vary depending on the nerve that is damaged. Some patients may experience numbness, resulting in a complete loss of sensation to hot, cold, or pain. This can be serious, leading to further injuries if left untreated.
Some patients experience weakness when the motor signal nerves are damaged. This can result in a loss of grip and limited range of movement.
In other cases, nerve damage can result in pain at the injury site.
Causes of Nerve Injuries
Nerve injuries are typically caused when the nerve is subject to too much pressure, overstretched, or cut.
Types of Nerve Injuries
- Pressure nerve injury: An example of a pressure nerve injury is carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition results when too much pressure is put on the median nerve, inhibiting communication with the brain and causing pain. These types of injuries are also known as nerve compression.
- Stretch nerve injury: The nerves can stretch to a certain degree. However, if a nerve is overstretched, it can cause a tear. Stretching nerve injuries may occur as a result of a bone fracture.
- Cut nerve injury: A cut nerve may be caused by glass, a knife, or a bullet. These types of nerve injuries are often the most severe because the nerve is cut in two.
Nerve Injury Diagnosis
Dr. Bailey will discuss the circumstance that resulted in the nerve injury. He may order nerve conduction studies or EMG test to check how fast signals are transmitted from the nerve to the brain. He may also order an MRI to see the extent of soft tissue damage.
Treatment of Nerve Injuries
If the nerve was stretched, it may heal on its own. However, therapy may be required to restore function of the nerve pathways.
If the nerve has been severed or partially cut, surgery may be performed to re-attach the two ends. The injured parts of the nerve will then die, and healthy nerve fiber will begin to regenerate.
If a portion of the nerve has been lost, leaving a gap, a nerve graft may be needed. The graft may be taken from another part of the body. Other options may include use of cadaver nerve graft or synthetic nerve conduit.
Contact The Hand Center at Crawford Plastic Surgery to schedule an appointment.