What is Nerve Repair or Reconstruction Surgery?

Like the name implies, nerve repair surgery involves closely examining an injured peripheral nerve using a medical microscope and then repairing and reconnecting the tissue. The exact technique used to repair your nerve will depend on the extent of the damage. Ideally, the nerve can be reconnected easily, but sometimes taking healthy nerve tissue from another part of your body may be necessary to complete the repair.

Who Should Have a Nerve Repair or Reconstruction Surgery?

Anyone who has significant numbness, weakness or pain due to an injured peripheral nerve may be a candidate for this surgery. Like most orthopedic procedures, the decision comes down to your ability to do your job or perform the activities you enjoy. We will help counsel you on your personal risks for surgery.

How Well Does a Nerve Repair or Reconstruction Work?

Studies have shown that about 80 percent of patients will demonstrate meaningful recovery, meaning they got significant improvement. Most of the remaining 20 percent will experience some improvement, but there is a small chance there will be no improvement. Those are aggregate statistics, but each repair is highly individual and depends on the level of damage and complexity of the repair. Your surgeon will be happy to speak to you about how they feel about your prognosis before as well as in the weeks following surgery.

What Can I Expect When I Have a Nerve Repair or Reconstruction Surgery?

After you schedule surgery, you may need a pre-surgical physical to make any necessary accommodations based on your health history. When you arrive at the hospital, you’ll speak to your surgeon and anesthesiologist. This procedure is normally performed under general anesthesia, meaning you should plan on having someone with you at the hospital and to help care for you for a few days afterwards, including driving. Barring rare complications, you will go home a few hours after the procedure.

Nerve repair is not the quickest in terms of recovery. Nerves heal at about one inch per month, but you’ll follow up with your surgeon to track your process. Full recovery often takes up to 18 months. However, proper physical therapy and/or proper activity levels will help accelerate your recovery.