Peripheral Nerve Surgery by Dr. Tim Tollestrup
It has only been recently that pioneering surgeons have really started to look at the peripheral nervous system through the prism of chronic pain. This huge blind spot in western medicine came about for two primary reasons. The first is that the treatment of chronic pain has traditionally been considered to be best treated by narcotic or other types of pain medications. The second is due to the fact that doctors have a very poor understanding of peripheral nerve anatomy which makes recognizing the true source of most chronic pain extremely difficult if not impossible.
Peripheral nerve problems are fundamentally mechanical in nature. In other words, the reason the nerve is constantly sending pain messages to the brain is that it has either been compressed or “pinched” in some fashion, or the nerve has been structurally damaged. Structural damage may take the form of a laceration or crush injury to the nerve resulting in the formation of an exquisitely painful structure known as a “neuroma.” A neuroma is a painful ball of nerve fibers mixed with scar tissue on the end of the nerve that is still connected to the spinal cord or brain.
Due to the underlying mechanical nature of most peripheral nerve problems, surgical intervention is the only really effective way to change the environment around the nerve and correct the damage in a way that stops the nerve from sending pain messages to the brain. This may take the form of altering the anatomy around a pinched nerve to relieve the pressure or disconnecting or grafting a damaged nerve using various techniques to prevent the formation of another painful neuroma. This is also why pain medication tends to do a very poor job at controlling chronic pain of nerve origin.
Dr. Tollestrup is the only comprehensive peripheral nerve surgeon West of the Mississippi and he devotes 100% of his practice to surgery of the peripheral nerve. He is an expert at diagnosing and treating even the most complex peripheral nerve problems from head to toe, including nerve damage sustained during other surgical procedures.
Dr. Tim Tollestrup is a pioneer, with his efforts to push the envelope in developing a new form of surgery and a radically new treatment option for people suffering from chronic pain that’s made him one of only four surgeons in the world who exclusively focus on chronic pain-related peripheral nerve injuries.
Nerve surgery procedures performed by the Tollestrup team may provide permanent relief and long-term solutions to a myriad of chronic pain problems, previously considered to be untreatable.
This specialized field of peripheral nerve surgery is the missing piece of the chronic pain puzzle and remains unknown to 99.9% of medical professionals. The primary reason for this is that doctors are not trained to have a detailed understanding of complex peripheral nerve anatomy, nor do they receive any specialized, comprehensive training in recognizing, diagnosing, or treating these kinds of complex peripheral nerve problems.
A detailed, comprehensive understanding of peripheral nerve anatomy is the Rosetta Stone for understanding chronic pain, and can help patients who fall into these four broad categories:
Not all pain is due to a peripheral nerve problem. It is therefore very important to try and determine if the chronic pain you may be experiencing stems from some type of peripheral nerve injury or not.