Understanding Acute Nerve Injuries

Nerves are our body’s “wiring system” that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. There are nerves to make our bodies move, and other nerves send signals about pain, pressure, and our body temperature to the brain. There are small fibers inside each nerve that carry the messages, while there is an outer layer that insulates and protects the nerves.

Sometimes, these nerves can be damaged. This may be caused by too much pressure, by stretching, or by a cut. Nerves can be damaged over time, but a trauma to an area may cause immediate damage. If there are broken nerve fibers or more severe injuries, messages between the brain and body will only continue after the nerves grow. This process may take months. If the outer wrap and inner fibers of the nerve are cut, surgery is typically needed to allow the nerve to heal correctly.

With surgery, the nerve endings are sewn back together. Depending on the extent of damage done to the nerve will determine how long the nerves will take to grow back. Age, health, the body injured body part, and the type of nerve injury will play a part in results of the surgery. This process may take months. The muscles will work well again when the nerves have grown back. One may experience numbness and potential sharp pain during the healing period.

Dr. Malini V. Narayanan, a Harvard trained Neurosurgeon at National Neurosurgery Solutions, operates on acute nerve injury cases. She may encounter this type of case while on trauma call at Prince George’s Hospital Center, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, and Washington Adventist Hospital. There, she will work with other surgeons to ensure that the correct specialists needed for your specific case is handled accordingly. Timing of the surgery plays a key factor in prevention of further treatment.

Sometimes, the acute nerve injury will not require surgery. Two important questions Dr. Narayanan will consider before surgery are whether function may be obtained from repairing the nerve and whether the individual patient outweighs the surgical risks, costs, and loss of productivity. Dr. Narayanan will follow-up with the patient to evaluate nerve root growth as the evolution of nerve injuries is important in indicating the need for open treatment.

About the Author

Monnize Sobrinho graduated from La Sierra University with a degree in Marketing and Management. Since then she has put her knowledge of business and healthcare working as a consultant and blogger for National Neurosurgery Solutions and other companies. Monnize has also worked in the international field with nonprofit and for profit companies, finding time to express herself through music in her free time.



Nerve repair with realignment of bundles. Image courtesy of the ASSH                Different Types of Nerve Injuries

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