What is Nerve Repair of Finger?

This is a kind of operation to restore the nerve in your finger.

Effects of Nerve Repair of Finger

Surgery may be necessary for most patients in order to restore the severed nerve. Delaying surgery can make it difficult to repair the severed nerve and impair recovery as well.

Candidates for Nerve Repair of Finger

Surgery may be an option if the patient has a serious laceration or other injury that damages the nerve of a finger. It is necessary to repair digital nerves since these conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain, and it provides sensation and movement to the hand and fingers.

Your Consultation

Through an initial evaluation, the doctor will determine whether surgery is needed to treat a nerve injury. In addition to the office examination, some special tests may be necessary too. If surgery is required, the doctor will present you with several treatment options.

For the most part, the nerves in the arm and hand can be sewn together or “sutured”. The major nerves are sizeable enough to be fixed all the way to the tips of the fingers. If there is a loss of a fraction of the nerve, the doctor may propose a nerve graft. It should be carefully discussed whether or not this type of trade-off is suitable for you. If the nerve cannot be repaired, there may be other choices available. The doctor will discuss the options and realistic expectations for function.

The Nerve Repair of Finger Procedure

During the procedure, the cut in your finger will be extended in order to locate the ends of your cut nerve. Then the nerve will be sewn together with very fine stitches. Finally, the skin wound will be closed up with stitches.

Recovery

About 6 weeks after your operation, you should start to have some feeling in your finger. The finger may be extra sensitive for approximately a period of 6 months but this eventually passes. The sense of touch in your finger will progress for up to 3 years. The sensation will never be normal, it will be different.

Risks

Occasionally, there may be wound infection and you will be provided with antibiotics to try and prevent this. There is also the risk that the nerve may not heal and this may leave part of your finger permanently numb.

FAQs

What are nerves?

Nerves are like “wires” of the body that transmit information to and from the brain. Motor nerves transmit messages from the brain to muscles to make the body move. Sensory nerves send out messages to the brain from various parts of the body to signal pain, pressure and temperature. Although the individual axon (nerve fiber) pass on only one type of message, either motor or sensory, nearly all nerves in the body are made up of both.

What happens when a nerve is injured?

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching or cutting. When a nerve is injured, it can stop signals to and from the brain, making the muscles not work properly. This may cause a loss of sensation in the injured area. In cases where a nerve is cut, both the nerve and the insulation are broken. Injuries involving pressure or stretching can affect the fibers carrying the information to break and stop the nerve from functioning, without damaging the cover.

What are some of the factors that might affect prognosis of nerve repair?

Healing depends on the manner in which the nerve was wounded. From a surgical point of view, a sharp laceration, similar to a knife wound, has a good prognosis. It can be closed early and should do fairly well. The most awful forms of wounds are those produced by projectiles. The rapid changes in momentum have a tendency to injure a great deal of tissue and can result in debris in the wound. These kinds of injuries typically bring about axonotmesis, although natural recovery is likely.

How do nerves heal?

Nerves in the arm and hand are extensions from the spinal cord. Every nerve comprises of millions of tiny fibers called axons. These microscopic structures are the “wiring” of the nervous system. When a nerve is cut, the axons that are on the side towards the hand and away from the spinal cord are no longer attached to the central nervous system. These axons deteriorate and leave behind only the hollow tube in which they used to travel. After a nerve is restored, the axons have to grow down these tiny hollow tubes to reinstate function. Not all are able to redevelop successfully among the millions of axons injured. The axons that do renew will normally not travel down exactly the same path that they once took. Because of this, recovery after nerve repair is not perfect and depends upon many variables.

The most significant part of nerve regeneration is the difference from repairing electrical wiring. In other words, the connection is not immediately established after nerve repair. Renewing axons develop at an average rate of one inch per month. With this in mind, you can expect the length of time necessary subsequent to nerve repair to recuperate function. A nerve repair at the wrist takes 5 or 6 months to retrieve sensation in the fingertips.