Traumatic Nerve Injuries

What Are Traumatic Nerve Injuries?

A traumatic nerve injury explains situations where the patient’s nerves are injured. Traumatic nerve injuries can be classified as either:

  • A penetrating trauma, such as stab wounds or gunshot wounds, or

  • A blunt trauma caused by falls and related incidents.

In the event the nerve is merely stunned, the traumatic nerve injury is called neuropraxia. With neuropraxia, patients can expect a full recovery. These types of nerve injuries are commonly caused by blunt traumas.

On the other hand, penetrating traumas typically result in more serious transected nerves. This type of traumatic nerve injury can result in the patient experiencing immediate loss of both sensation and muscle function. Transacted nerve injuries are least likely to return with surgical repair.

What Are the Treatment Options for Traumatic Nerve Injuries?

The type and extent of treatment always depends on the location, extent, and type of nerve injury sustained by the patient. Since nerve injuries from blunt traumas typically return over time, observation is usually the suggested treatment. During the observation, the physician may use:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil and Motrin),

  • Immobilization with braces and stents

  • Over-the-Counter pain medicines, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).

On the other hand, penetrating nerve traumas are more severe and require more intensive treatments. Nerve injuries involving nerve transection will almost always require repair through surgical procedure.