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Chronic Post-Surgical Nerve Pain in Athletes

Chronic Post-Surgical Nerve Pain in Athletes

Are you an athlete with chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) that’s keeping you from getting back in the game or playing your best? You’re not alone. Researchers estimate that up to 50% of adults struggle with CPSP.  

The good news is that effective solutions exist, and they can help you feel like yourself again so you can get back to playing the sport you love. At Anthony Echo, M.D., our peripheral nerve and microsurgery expert offers treatments to end your chronic post-surgical nerve pain.  

Dr. Echo is a board-certified surgeon specializing in nerve repair surgery, one of the best ways to repair the underlying damage triggering your CPSP. Here’s a closer look at nerve pain after surgery and how Dr. Echo can help.    

Understanding chronic post-surgical nerve pain

Some pain and discomfort after surgery are to be expected. But for some athletes, the pain doesn’t go away or keeps coming back for three or months after the normal healing time. This is called chronic post-surgical pain.  

Nerve damage and irritation are often the underlying causes that trigger post-surgical pain symptoms, disrupting normal signaling between the nerves and the brain. 

Neuropathic pain can lead to sensations such as:

Various surgical events can trigger neuropathic CPSP, including damage to the tissues that insulate the nerve fibers, nerve fiber damage, and severed nerves. 

Treating nerve-related CPSP

The good news is that an experienced surgeon can repair these damaged nerves and minimize or eliminate your symptoms. If you’re an athlete struggling with nerve-related CPSP, it’s important to see a specialist as soon as possible.

If you don’t address nerve damage quickly, it can be more difficult to treat and may lead to ongoing problems and long-term pain. Dr. Echo evaluates your symptoms and surgical history to determine the right nerve repair technique. He considers the surgery's location, the damaged nerves' function, and how close the nerves are to your muscle to create personalized nerve repair recommendations. 

Different nerve repair techniques work best with different types of nerve injuries. Here’s a look at three of the most common techniques:

Technique one: Nerve graft repair

Dr. Echo may recommend nerve grafting when the damaged part of the nerve is too extensive to repair directly. This technique uses either a nerve from another part of your body or from a donor, which then bridges the damaged section of the affected nerve. 

Technique two: Primary (direct) nerve repair

If your repair occurs soon after your surgery, Dr. Echo may recommend a primary or direct nerve repair. This technique prepares and aligns the injured nerve's injured ends, then surgically joins them. 

Technique three: Nerve transfer

If your nerve-related CPSP involves missing nerves or damage to long segments, affects nerves far from the muscle, or is from an older surgery that has since caused scar tissue, Dr. Echo may recommend a nerve transfer. 

During a nerve transfer, Dr. Echo re-routes a healthy nerve to your injured nerve. As your nerves heal after the procedure, the nerve fibers grow into the injured nerve, restoring function. 

If you’re an athlete struggling with chronic post-surgical nerve pain, don’t wait to schedule an evaluation online or over the phone with Dr. Echo in Houston.

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