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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 78-82

Decompression of peripheral nerve trunks in leprosy to prevent the development and progression of deformities

1 Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, National JALMA Institute for Leprosy, Taj Ganj, Agra, India
2 Department M, NJIL, Agra; Department of SPM, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, India

Correspondence Address:
Sajid Husain
National JALMA Institute for Leprosy, Taj Ganj Agra - 282 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.38586

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Background: Peripheral nerve involvement results in deformities in leprosy. High doses (40-60 mg) of steroids along with anti-leprosy drugs is the preferred treatment, even though 70-75% cases still develop deformity. Early surgical decompression of nerves gives better chances of preventing deformity. We have analyzed the role of early surgical decompression in such cases. Materials and Methods: Five hundred nerves (386 ulnar, 60 median and 54 posterior tibial) not responding to the medical treatment in 12 weeks, were undertaken for external and internal nerve trunk decompression. These cases were followed up for five to 20 years at various intervals. Results: The pain in nerve (neuralgia) recovered in all cases of ulnar, median and posterior tibial nerves. Full sensory recovery to pinprick and feather or cotton wool touch was seen in 50% cases of all the three nerves. Twenty percent cases maintained the preoperative levels of sensory status. Plantar ulcers healed within six months after decompression of posterior tibial nerve but six cases showed recurrence. Overall motor recovery in ulnar nerve was 89% and 70% in median nerve. Conclusions: The sensory recovery restores protective sensation which prevents secondary injuries. The improvement of motor power gives better function and improves the appearance, which in the absence of surgical intervention was not possible.

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