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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Nerves

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 11/14/1999]
RESULTS WERE GENITALFEMORAL NERVE DAMAGED. ALSO BLADDER INCONTINENT 24 HRS A DAY NO CONTROL OF BLADDER. HOW LONG WILL THIS LAST? will nerve regeneration take place if so when? please help me. I have been examided by number of doctors. all confirm that possible spillage of Phenol, but not getting any answers as to how long, please help me, this awfull thing that has happened to me is ruining my family life. because of what has happened I have no feelings below on my righ5t side. I feel as though I have had my rights as a woman taken from me, through no fault of my own'

Answer: Probably permanent, nerves regenerate at the rate of 1/8 of an inch per month under optimum conditions, so there is a chance depending on how far the nerve has to grow.

Nerve Damage [posted 1/6/99]
Question: What is the answer to this question? Without the politics of research dollars, is it true that if nerves have not been severed will re-grow at about the rate of 1 mm per week, or have I been misled? Also is it possible to maintain muscle were there is severe nerve damage by doing exercises?

Answer: Nerves can re-grow, but currently only thought to be the small nerves at the end of the nerve process. There has recently been published information using nerve growth factors, which may invalidate all our previous information on nerve regeneration. In general, the central nerves (brain, spine, etc) are not thought to regenerate. The peripheral nerves can re-grow new endplate processes. If the cell nucleus is damaged, there appears to be no re-growth. If the cell nucleus is intact, there can be growth in some circumstances.

Numbness [posted 8/7/98]
Question: In Feb. I began to experience numbness along the right side of my face, which then radiated to my arm and leg. Consulted physician who ordered an MRI which came back normal. Referred to neurologist who suggested atypical migraines and prescribed verapomil - this did not help. Symptons lasted several weeks, then subsided. Returned approximately six weeks later, lasted for two-three weeks, then subsided again. Now, after three months of relief, the numbness is back, this time worse than ever. Numbness subsides for a few hours then returns. I am not experiencing any other symptoms besides allergies and occasional migraines which are treated successfully with zomeg. Always the numbness begins the week before onset of menstruation, perhaps there is a connection? My neurologist seemed content the last time the numbness went away and did not look into the matter further. It is affecting my work and my life. Can anyone please help?

Answer: Have you had nerve conduction studies of the affected parts of the arm/leg? This might help. Also, if it seems period related, try a couple of months of birth control pills to alter your cycle and see if this helps to pin down the initiating cause.

Loss of Feeling in Face [posted 8/7/98]
Question: I have had a numb feeling in the right side of my face for over a month. It starts in the corner of my eye next to my nose down into my cheek, the right side of my lip and two of my front teeth. My family doctor thought it was a sinus problem but it has not cleared up. My face feels like I have had a deading shot but I have not. There is no sign of any problem just by looking at my face. I am a 43 year old white female.

Answer: You'll need a CT of your head and sinus to ensure that the nerve is not impaired as it leaves under your eye. This is a clear peripheral nerve problem, finding the specific spot that the nerve is being impaired will be harder - keep pressing on this.

Sciatic Nerve Damage [posted 7/29/98]
Question: What are the ramifications of an IM injection into the sciatic nerve? Prognosis? I only seem to find a sentence here or there. Pain is a factor. Muscle atrophy? What happens to the nerve?

Answer: It depends a great deal on how much was injected and if in the center of the nerve or the periphery. The variation from injection to injection error is significant. Consequently, predicting the long term/short term damage is impossible. If the nerve is significantly damaged muscle atrophy will result. This would be uncommon. However, the volume injected and the site of injection would make major differences.

Regeneration of Nerves
Question: Is it possible for nerves to regenerate? If so, or if not, why?

Answer: A lot of research is ongoing in organ and nerve development and fetal differentiation. Understand this issue would probably lead to different "growth" factors which would lead to both organ and nerve regeneration/development. Again, this is limited by lack of Federal Research Dollars.

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