If you suffer from the life-altering pain of peripheral neuropathy, you’ve probably tried all sorts of remedies to find relief. Luckily, you’ve finally come to the right place. Tim Tollestrup, MD, provides neuropathy surgery in Las Vegas that can help you finally leave your nerve pain behind and gt back to all the activities you love.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a condition caused when nerves that carry signals to and from the brain and spinal cord become damaged or diseased in some way. These damaged nerves interrupt communication between the brain and other parts of the body, causing nerve pain, preventing normal levels of sensation in the arms and legs, and impairing muscle movement.
Neuropathies are, in fact, very common, especially in people over age 55. Approximately 3-4% of people over 55 experience some form of neuropathy in their lives. Most peripheral neuropathies are progressive, so getting comprehensive early treatment is highly recommended. Though most neuropathies are considered incurable, there are many treatment options, including neuropathy surgery, that can help you feel considerably better and successfully manage your condition.
Nerve compression is often at the root of neuropathy symptoms
Neuropathy symptoms can be caused when nerves becomes pinched, compressed, swollen or enlarged along their course through the body, typically at tight spaces like in the wrist. This can be due to repetitive use/injury/trauma (such as in carpel tunnel syndrome) or through metabolic processes (as in diabetic neuropathy).
Nerve decompression surgery can help relieve the pressure placed on the affected nerves and ease the suffering of peripheral neuropathy patients.
Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can set in gradually or suddenly. It commonly affects the feet and hands. Symptoms generally are worse at night or with activity.
Here are some signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy you should look out for:
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of balance leading to falls
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling as if you’re wearing gloves or socks when you are not
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by a multitude of factors, both genetic and environmental, such as trauma, illness, injury, and toxins.
Some examples of environmental causes of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Thyroid disorders
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Cancer and chemotherapy
- Infections such as Lyme disease, AIDS or shingles
Less common are inherited neuropathies that pass from parent to child, such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1.
Sometimes, the source of a neuropathy is unknown. These are called idiopathic neuropathies. About 30% of all neuropathies are classified as idiopathic.
Treatments for Peripheral Neuropathy
Traditionally, there have been no good treatment options for the pain and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy. Most neuropathy patients are given pain medication and something like Gabapentin or Lyrica if their symptoms are severe enough. These medications are often ineffective and can produce unwanted side effects. Medications and spinal nerve blocks can reduce or mask the pain of neuropathy, but they do not address the root cause.
Our office sees so many neuropathy patients who have visited a multitude of doctors in their search for relief, including physical therapists, chiropractors, alternative medicine practitioners and more trying to find relief.
The good news is that, for people with peripheral neuropathy caused by nerve compression, surgical procedures may permanently relieve the pain, numbness, and weakness they have been experiencing. This is an exciting, revolutionary development in the treatment of peripheral nerve pain.
How does neuropathy surgery work
On the day of your neuropathy surgery, you’ll be put under general anesthesia while your procedure is performed. One or more small surgical incisions will be made to access the area where the damaged nerve resides, based on your physical exam findings. Through these incisions, your doctor will be able to access the area where the nerve is compressed and make minor yet effective alterations to the tissue surrounding the affected nerve, allowing it the “breathing room” it needs to heal. In some cases, the nerves may need to be divided and rerouted to relieve the pain and symptoms of neuropathy.
Surgery for nerve pain is outpatient, so you’ll need someone to drive you home and care for you in the hours after surgery while your anesthesia wears off. Recovery time for neuropathy surgery is between two and four weeks, and you’ll be able to resume most of your regular activities shortly after surgery, depending on the location of the damaged nerve or nerves and other factors. Your doctor will discuss your custom treatment and recovery plan with you before surgery.
Success rate of neuropathy surgery
The success rate for neuropathy surgery is approximately 80%. “Success” typically means complete resolution of the pain and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy. For people who respond to the surgery, these changes are permanent.
Barbara beats peripheral neuropathy with nerve decompression surgery
Barbara is a 75-year-old woman who came to see Dr. Tim Tollestrup because of peripheral neuropathy symptoms. She had been suffering from neuropathy symptoms in both feet for five years, which prevented her from dancing and taking part in other activities she enjoyed. Driving had also become difficult because she couldn’t feel the gas pedal due to the numbness in her foot.
Barbara has hypothyroidism, which is a risk factor for neuropathy. She told Dr. Tollestrup that even before the last five years of numbness, her feet had had a constant burning sensation for as long as she could remember. Both feet were affected equally, but it was the bottoms of her feet that gave her the most trouble. Recently, she had started to notice some deterioration in her balance, as well.
Dr. Tollestrup performed surgical procedures on both of Barbara’s legs to relieve the pressure that was ultimately affecting the nerves on the bottom of her feet.
Barbara reported a thrilling 80% reduction in pain in her feet, which allowed her to regain her quality of life and enjoy all her old hobbies again, like dancing! She also feels much safer driving now, because she can easily feel the amount of pressure she is applying to the gas pedal. She no longer uses a cane to walk, as her balance has significantly improved with the returning sensation in her feet.
Are there different types of peripheral neuropathy?
Mononeuropathy means damage of a single nerve, usually as the result or injury or trauma. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a mononeuropathy caused by repetitive motion in the hand and wrist.
Polyneuropathy, the most common form of peripheral neuropathy, is the damage of multiple nerves at the same time. One of the most common forms of polyneuropathy is diabetic neuropathy.
The Tollestrup Team Can Help
Dr. Tim Tollestrup and his team can help. Call us at 702-666-0463 or fill out the form on this page to set up a consultation to determine your options.