Neurosurgical Peripheral Nerve Service

The Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital offers a full range of services to evaluate, diagnose and treat a variety of peripheral nerve problems, including injuries (such as lacerations), entrapments (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and tumors (such as neuro-fibroma). Our goal is to maximize function, minimize suffering and improve quality of life for our patients.

What Are Peripheral Nerves?

Peripheral nerves are those that carry sensory information - including touch, pain, pressure, hot or cold and space orientation from your body back to the spinal cord and brain to process for further movement. The peripheral nervous system also carries all the motor information from the brain and spinal cord back to the muscles. These messages can be voluntary, such as where one decides to move a muscle, or involuntary, such as breathing, sweating and digesting.

Conditions and Disorders

The neurosurgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are available to provide you the utmost care if you are at risk for diseases that will affect your peripheral nervous system. These can manifest with pain, sensory disturbance (tingling, burning, inability to know where your body parts are without looking at them, pressure, etc.), motor problems (weakness in moving a muscle or body part) or trouble with the involuntary functions of your body (abnormal sweating, breathing, etc.). The following is a general list of peripheral nerve conditions treated at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital within the Department of Neurosurgery:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ulnar or peroneal nerve compression
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Nerve tumors
  • Nerve injuries

Diagnosis and Treatment

Our peripheral nerve surgical team has expertise in a wide range of surgical treatments, including minimally invasive decompression, brachial reconstruction and tumor excision. Determination of an appropriate treatment is based on a comprehensive neurological examination that may require additional testing, including electrodiagnostic studies, imaging studies or nerve biopsy. Featured services that the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital offers include:

  • Internal and external neurolysis for the management of scarring
  • Surgical treatment of painful neuromas
  • Removal of nerve sheath tumors with intraoperative electrophysiologic monitoring
  • Surgical exploration of complex or scarred nerve injuries and nerve grafting for repair, if needed

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