Peripheral nerve lesion

What Is a Peripheral Nerve Lesion?

A peripheral nerve lesion is an injury to the peripheral nerves that send messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When a nerve gets damaged, it can affect a person’s ability to feel, move, and control the affected area of the body. There are many reasons why a nerve may become damaged, including traumatic injury, disease, or even pressure from surrounding tissue.

Types of Peripheral Nerve Lesions

The two major types of peripheral nerve lesions are neuropraxia and axonotmesis. Neuropraxia is a reversible injury caused by pressure that interrupts the transmission of signals along a nerve. Axonotmesis is a more severe injury that involves the severing or stretching of the nerve's fibers, which can sometimes lead to permanent damage.

Causes of Peripheral Nerve Lesion

Peripheral nerve lesions are usually caused by traumatic injuries such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, or sports-related injuries. In some cases, diabetes or other medical conditions can also damage the peripheral nerves. Radiation therapy for cancer can sometimes damage the peripheral nerves, as well.

Symptoms of Peripheral Nerve Lesion

The symptoms of a peripheral nerve lesion vary depending on the location and severity of the injury. Common symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. The sensation of muscle weakness can range from mild to severe.

Diagnosis of Peripheral Nerve Lesion

To diagnose a nerve injury, a doctor will typically take a detailed medical history and physical exam. Imaging tests may also be used to better view the nerves and to determine if there is any damage. Other tests that may be used include nerve conduction studies, electromyography (EMG), and a nerve biopsy.

Treatment of Peripheral Nerve Lesion

Treatment for a nerve injury may include:

  • Pain medications to relieve discomfort
  • Surgery to repair and reconstruct the damaged nerve
  • Physical therapy to restore strength and flexibility
  • Occupational therapy to help with daily activities
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Nerve blocks to help reduce pain

In some cases, a nerve injury may resolve without medical intervention. However, it is important to seek prompt medical attention in case the injury is more serious than initially thought.