What is Operative? Conceptualizing Neuralgia: Neuroma, Compression Neuropathy, Painful Hyperalgesia, and Phantom Nerve Pain

Elspeth J.R. Hill, J. Megan M. Patterson, Andrew Yee, Lara W. Crock, Susan E. Mackinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Neuralgia, or nerve pain, is a common presenting complaint for the hand surgeon. When the nerve at play is easily localized, and the cause of the pain is clear (eg, carpal tunnel syndrome), the patient may be easily treated with excellent results. However, in more complex cases, the underlying pathophysiology and cause of neuralgia can be more difficult to interpret; if incorrectly managed, this leads to frustration for both the patient and surgeon. Here we offer a way to conceptualize neuralgia into 4 categories—compression neuropathy, neuroma, painful hyperalgesia, and phantom nerve pain—and offer an illustrative clinical vignette and strategies for optimal management of each. Further, we delineate the reasons why compression neuropathy and neuroma are amenable to surgery, while painful hyperalgesia and phantom nerve pain are not.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery Global Online
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Nerve pain
  • Nerve surgery
  • Neuralgia
  • Neuroma
  • Neuropathy

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