Nerve reconstructive options include allograft and autograft nerve grafts, nerve transfers and nerve conduits to bridge digital sensory nerve gaps. The gold standard in nerve repair is primary end-to-end coaptation.
If damage to the nerve occurs too far away from the affected muscles, recovery is not possible with just nerve repair surgery.
Reconstruction procedures to restore lost function include tendon transfers that takes working muscles that are adjacent to a paralyzed muscle, and substituting the movement of one muscle for another by reconnecting the tendons from the uninjured muscle to the injured one. The new movement from the transferred muscle maximizes function in that specific area.
Nerve reconstruction is the term given to the various microsurgical techniques used to treat nerve injury. Early intervention is extremely important for obtaining a positive outcome. For the best results, nerve reconstruction should begin between 3-6 months after the injury.
Primary nerve reconstruction are optimally performed 3-6 months after injury.
Secondary reconstructive procedures include tendon transfers, free muscle transplants, pedicle muscle transfers, and fusions. These secondary procedures can often be done months or years after the injury.
Recovery from reconstructive nerve surgery is a lengthy process. Long-term physical therapy helps to preserve range of motion, strength, and flexibility in the affected area. Physical therapy also helps muscle atrophy.