In some cases, neuropathy symptoms and muscle weakness can be improved through a surgical release of the affected nerves. Entrapment of a nerve occurs when pressure is exerted from the surrounding tissue, causing damage and pain. The surgery opens the tight area through which the affected nerve passes, reducing pressure and increasing blood flow.
Nerve “entrapments” are somewhat common in patients with diabetic neuropathy. They can also be a result of direct injury to the nerve, including as a result of other surgery. These include from knee replacement surgery, trauma or impact to the lower leg, or anatomical or biomechanical factors.
Research has demonstrated the ability of nerve decompression surgery to improve sensation in individuals with diabetic peripheral neuropathy in the foot and lower leg. Restoration of sensation can help prevent these patients from developing ulcers or even from having their foot amputated.
But the best testimonial is the countless patients that have this surgery performed on one leg and come back to get the other one done. With more than 600 surgeries performed, we can say that the overwhelming majority of our patients that were candidates for these procedures are happy with the results.
A study by MacKinnon and Dellon in 1980, noted that most patients affected by carpal tunnel syndrome with symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy had relieved pain and regained sensations after decompression surgery. Patients with lower extremity peripheral nerve decompression had a success rate of 88% after decompression surgery.
Another recent study, “Nerve Decompression After Diabetic Foot Ulceration May Protect Against Recurrence: A 3-Year Controlled, Prospective Analysis,” followed 42 patients that suffered from diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy. These individuals were unable to control their pain through medication, and all had at least one previously healed ulcer.
The participants were evaluated at 12 months after nerve decompression therapy and additionally at 3 years. Based on statistical evidence, ulcer recurrence is 1.6% for individuals who receive nerve decompression, and 7% for nonoperational efforts. The physicians concluded that nerve decompression can greatly assist in protecting legs and feet in individuals affected by diabetic neuropathy, “even years after primary ulcer healing.”
Dr. Barrett was trained in peripheral nerve surgery by A. Lee Dellon, M.D., who is a professor of plastic and neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Dr. Dellon is the innovator of peripheral nerve surgical decompression for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and is considered one of the top peripheral nerve surgeons in the world. Dr. Dellon enlisted Dr. Barrett to operate in his Tucson, AZ Instititue for Peripheral Nerve Surgery from 2001-2004.
Dr. Barrett acted as Dr. Dellon’s director of surgical education from 2001-2004, in which more than 200 surgeons were trained in lower extremity peripheral nerve surgical techniques. Dr. Barrett has also completed microsurgery training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota.
To find out if you may be a candidate for surgical nerve decompression, book your evaluation appointment today!