Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Surgical Option For Treating Diabetic And Other Neuropathies Being Tested

Date:
July 10, 2008
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Plastic surgeons and specialists in diabetes, neurology, pain management and rehabilitation are launching a cutting-edge study of peripheral nerve surgery to alleviate long-standing pain and numbness in patients with diabetic neuropathy.

UT Southwestern Medical Center plastic surgeons and specialists in diabetes, neurology, pain management and rehabilitation are launching a cutting-edge study of peripheral nerve surgery to alleviate long-standing pain and numbness in patients with diabetic neuropathy.

Neuropathy is nerve-related pain, often associated with diabetes. The risk of developing neuropathy increases the longer a person has diabetes, and it is estimated that up to 40 percent of diabetics have some form of neuropathy. UT Southwestern is one of a few U.S. medical centers, and the only facility in North Texas, to offer surgery on peripheral nerves, which originate from the spine.

"Patients with neuropathy are often told that the problem is irreversible and that they cannot be helped," says Dr. Shai Rozen, assistant professor of plastic surgery. "Diabetic neuropathy is a complex problem caused by multiple factors. We think pressure on nerves may be one component responsible for the symptoms in certain patients. This is very important to emphasize: Surgery may be helpful only in patients we suspect have pressure on their nerves in addition to their neuropathy and is not for all neuropathy patients."

About one-third of patients with diabetic neuropathy have overlying compression of certain nerves in the leg that may worsen the pain and cause loss of sensation at the bottom of the foot. Several studies have demonstrated that the nerves may increase in diameter in diabetic patients. In this study, UT Southwestern investigators are hoping to show that by releasing pressure from the specific nerves of these patients, pain may be decreased and sensation improved.

"The concept of nerve compression in diabetics is not new," Dr. Rozen said. "Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical term used to describe compression of the median nerve at the wrist. It appears in approximately 2 percent of the general population, but in 15 percent to 30 percent of patients with diabetes. The treatment of choice in these patients, if conservative treatment has failed, is surgical nerve release."

In addition to pain, patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy have decreased sensation on the bottoms of their feet. Because they can injure their feet without noticing it, many develop ulcerations. About one out of every six patients with ulcers require amputations -- accounting for the nearly 100,000 amputations per year in the U.S. because of diabetes.

"If we are able to restore at least protective sensation -- that means patients will feel it if they hit something with their foot -- it may decrease the amount of ulcers and eventual amputations in this high-risk population," Dr. Rozen said.

Peripheral nerves supply sensation and are responsible for activating different muscles in the body. If these nerves are injured or compressed, they may be responsible for pain, loss of sensation, or even loss of function. Some of these problems may be helped by nerve surgery.

"Pain problems like these are not uncommon. The main problem is education and awareness among patients and physicians alike that there may be surgical solutions to some of these problems," Dr. Rozen said. "We all know patients who had surgery for a 'pinched' nerve in the back. The concepts are very similar -- relieve a nerve from pressure, repair it or even cut it in certain cases, and the pain may be relieved."

The study is funded through the Multidisciplinary Clinical and Translational Pilot and Collaborative Study Initiative -- Pilot Grant Award Program and a gift from the David Crowley Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New Surgical Option For Treating Diabetic And Other Neuropathies Being Tested." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094023.htm>.
UT Southwestern Medical Center. (2008, July 10). New Surgical Option For Treating Diabetic And Other Neuropathies Being Tested. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094023.htm
UT Southwestern Medical Center. "New Surgical Option For Treating Diabetic And Other Neuropathies Being Tested." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080710094023.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins