Peripheral Neuropathy Sidelined Young Mother
April Anderson is representative of the millions of patients who suffer from symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy. April was in such bad shape that she couldn’t write or walk for long distances. When she went on a family vacation she had to ride a scooter around Disneyland.
April agreed to share her story in hopes of reaching the many, many other young women and men suffering from neuropathy.
Here is her story on video with more details below.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is a non-specific term used to describe anyone with sensory loss, pain or weakness affecting either the legs/feet or arms/hands or both. Common risk factors for developing peripheral neuropathy include diabetes and hypothyroidism but many patients who do not have any known risk still develop the same symptoms.
Current medical teaching about neuropathy is that it is a progressive, incurable disease. The goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms with medications like Gabapentin, Lyrica, or narcotic pain medication.
What is poorly understood by most doctors is that the primary problem involves changes to the peripheral nerves. The nerves become enlarged due to swelling and infiltration with fatty tissue. This then leads to mechanical compression (pinching) of the nerves at areas of anatomic narrowing in both the arms and legs.
For neuropathy patient’s who show signs of nerve compression on physical examination, surgical decompression of the nerves is 80% effective at relieving the pain, numbness and weakness associated with the condition.
Nerve decompression surgery is not appropriate for all patients with peripheral neuropathy! Only patients who show signs of nerve compression by physical exam are considered candidates for surgery.
Nerve Decompression Surgery for April*
April suffered for years from peripheral neuropathy. She is also hypothyroid which is probably the reason she developed the peripheral neuropathy in the first place. She developed particularly severe neuropathy in both her feet and hands. Her feet felt like they were on fire and wearing shoes became unbearable. The pain in her feet and legs became so severe that it became almost impossible to walk. She also had the same problem in her hands which became painful to the point that even writing was difficult.
April’s neuropathy pain was relieved by a series of nerve decompression surgeries by Dr. Tollestrup. Surgically decompressing a nerve means relieving the pressure on the nerve by increasing the space around the nerve.
The decision about which nerves and which compression sites to operate on are made based on the location of the patient’s symptoms and the physical exam findings. A careful medical history and a specialized peripheral nerve examination is by far the best way to diagnose whether or not a patient with peripheral neuropathy patient is a candidate for surgery. EMG and nerve conduction testing typically cannot pinpoint the locations of the compressed nerves with any degree of accuracy or reliability. Similarly, peripheral nerves cannot be effectively imaged with X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
Once the pressure on April’s peripheral nerves was surgically released, her neuropathy symptoms resolved. The burning pain went away and normal sensation was restored to her hands and feet. She is now back to living a normal life and enjoys participating in an active lifestyle with her family which had previously been impossible.*
If you or someone you know has peripheral neuropathy, call Dr. Tim Tollestrup at 702-666-0463.
We do not guarantee any specific results or outcomes for surgery, should our practice work on your behalf. Information on this website may be used as a reference for successes we’ve achieved for our patients, and not as an assurance or guarantee for similar results in all instances.