Surgical Decompression For Compression Neuropathy Offers Many Advantages

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in the diabetic patient can be ameliorated with peripheral nerve surgical decompression.

LAS VEGAS — Surgical decompression can offer long-lasting pain relief and restore sensation in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy, leading to an improved quality of life.

That was the word from Stephen L. Barrett, DPM, an adjunct professor at Midwestern University College of Health Sciences, Podiatric Medicine Program and founder of Barrett Foot & Ankle in Phoenix, Arizona, who spoke here during PainWeek 2015 this week.

Dr. Barrett said that surgical decompression has been shown to restore sensation; reduce pain; prevent amputation and ulceration; improve balance and prevent falls; decrease global healthcare costs; and perhaps most importantly, improve the quality of life for diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. 1

“Zhang, Li, and Xheng from the Department of Neurosurgery at XinHua Hospital published results of a study involving 560 diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy in 2013,” Dr. Barrett said. “Their results, which amplify numerous previous studies, were summarized in their conclusion: ‘Microsurgical decompression of entrapped peripheral nerves for peripheral neuropathy helped improve nerve conduction, restore lower limb feeling and motor function, and cure ulcers.’ ”2

Currently, more than 22 million people in the United States have peripheral neuropathy, and up to 60% of all patients with diabetes will develop the condition.3  Therefore, as a significant portion of the population will be affected by this common complication of diabetes, clinicians should be alert to the development of peripheral nerve entrapment as early as at time of initial diagnosis of diabetes.  Awareness of potential treatments is key to optimal patient outcomes.