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Diabetic Neuropathy is a disease affecting the nervous system where the consistent high blood sugar levels of diabetics causes damage to nerves in the body. Nearly half of diabetic patients will suffer from some form of nerve damage, typically occurring ten to twenty years after the diabetes diagnosis.
While there is currently no method to cure diabetic neuropathy, methods of treatment to manage pain and prevent nerve damage associated with the disease are available. Some diabetic neuropathy patients may be candidates for an innovative Peripheral Nerve Decompression Surgery.
The surgery was developed by Dr. Lee Dellon, Professor of Neurosurgery and Plastic Surgery at John Hopkins University, who discovered that nerves were subject to compression and swelling in areas that were anatomically tight, including the inside of the ankle, which caused symptoms of neuropathy.
Peripheral Nerve Decompression Surgery opens the tight area through which the nerve affected by neuropathy passes by, dividing a ligament that crosses the nerve. The opening allows blood to flow better in the nerve by giving the nerve more room, permitting the nerve to glide with movements of nearby joints.
North Texas Foot & Ankle podiatrist, Dr. Ronica Holcombe, is certified in this innovative procedure. Peripheral Nerve Decompression Surgery typically takes about one hour, with an additional hour of recovery time. A long-acting local anesthetic will be put into incisions so that once awake, patients feel little pain.
The numbness wears off in 12-24 hours, and many patients have noted restoration of sensation and pain reduction immediately after the anesthesia has worn off. Patients may experience temporary hot or cold sensations or shooting pain in their toes, because the nerves have been awakened from “sleep.” This is an indication of recovery and pain medication is available to reduce discomfort.