Information for the public

This procedure works well for peripheral nerve discontinuities (gaps) in fingers, but there’s not much good evidence about how well it works in other parts of the body. There are no serious concerns about its safety.

This procedure can be used for nerve discontinuities in other parts of the body, but only when patients have regular checks to see how well it is working or if it has caused problems. This is because of uncertainties about its long-term results and potential serious complications when used in other parts of the body.

Accidents or major surgery can damage nerves, causing pain, reduced sensation and lack of movement. If the ends of the damaged nerve are too far apart to be stitched together, the gap (discontinuity) needs bridging. In this procedure, a specially treated nerve (an allograft) taken from a human donor after death, is used to bridge the gap. The aim is to restore function to the damaged nerve.

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more. NICE’s information on interventional procedures guidance has more about what a procedure is and how we assess them.

Is this procedure right for me?

If you’ve been offered this procedure, your healthcare professionals should discuss with you what is involved, and tell you about the risks and benefits. They should talk with you about your options, and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. All of this should happen before you agree (consent) to have the procedure. You should also be told how to find more information about the procedure. Read more about making decisions about your care.

Some questions to think about

  • What does the procedure involve?
  • What are the possible benefits? How likely am I to get them?
  • What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
  • What happens if the procedure doesn’t work or something goes wrong?
  • What happens if I don’t want the procedure? Are there other treatments available?

ISBN: 978-1-4731-2732-6

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