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Nerve Treatment Could Help Ease Diabetic Neuropathy

A surgical treatment used to treat conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and back sciatica might also help relieve the pain of patients with diabetic neuropathy, a new study finds.

Surgical nerve decompression significantly eased pain among a small group of people with diabetic neuropathy for up to five years, researchers report.

1. Surgery to release compressed nerves might help patients with diabetic neuropathy

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  • Surgical nerve decompression, a treatment used for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and back sciatica, was found to relieve pain in patients with diabetic neuropathy.

  • The surgery significantly eased pain for up to five years by removing inflexible tissue that was putting pressure on swollen nerves in the feet and legs.

2. After five years, patients who had the surgery felt less pain than those who only got medication

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  • The study's five-year results suggest a positive long-term impact on pain for patients who underwent nerve decompression surgery.

  • The procedure allows improved blood flow to the nerve, leading to the nerve shrinking back to normal size.

3. There also was less pain in the leg that received surgery than the other that didn’t

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  • In the clinical trial, 78 patients were randomly assigned to either undergo nerve decompression surgery or remain on medication only.

  • Patients who had the surgery reported significantly less pain in both legs compared to those on medication only, with even greater pain reduction reported by the surgical group after five years.

4. The Impact of Diabetic Neuropathy

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  • About 20 million Americans suffer from diabetic neuropathy, which causes nerve irritation and pain due to fluctuating blood sugar levels in diabetes.

  • Symptoms include pain, muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, burning sensation, and extreme touch sensitivity, mostly affecting lower extremities.

5. Future Research and Next Steps

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  • The study's findings, published in the Annals of Surgery, contribute to the debate about the value of decompression surgery in treating diabetic neuropathy.

  • Further research is needed to better understand the efficacy of nerve decompression surgery and identify patients likely to benefit from surgical intervention.

6. Source

Brain Nerve Cells
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UT Southwestern Medical Center, news release, March 20, 2024

7. What This Means For You

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Nerve decompression surgery could be a means of treating people suffering from diabetic neuropathy.

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Nerve Treatment Could Help Ease Diabetic Neuropathy

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