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Nerve Decompression Surgery at Our Los Angeles Center

When you pinch your skin, you feel pain, numbness and tingling — and you probably want to avoid pinching your skin again. Nerve compression is a condition that results when the nerves in your body are pinched. This most commonly occurs in areas where your nerves must fit through a narrow canal, such as your carpal tunnel that leads from your elbow to your wrist.

Conditions that cause nerves to become pinched or compressed include:

  • Peripheral neuropathy, where swollen or damaged blood vessels in the extremities put extra pressure on your nerves. This condition is a common side effect of diabetes and can occur in your feet, causing you to lose sensation.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, where the median nerve that runs through a thin tunnel to your hand is compressed. This condition causes pain, tingling, numbness and loss of function in the hand and wrist. If you work with your hands, such as on an assembly line or typing on a computer, you are at increased risk for experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that occurs from repetitive motion, such as swinging a tennis racquet. This condition causes inflammation that compresses nerves at or around elbow, which can lead to pain, tingling and numbness that radiates down the arm.


If left untreated, a pinched nerve tends to be a progressive condition, meaning your symptoms may worsen with time. If you have tried non-surgical treatment methods, such as exercises, resting the affected area and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, your miVIP surgeon may recommend arthroscopic nerve decompression to repair the compressed nerves.

Nerve Decompression Surgery

Your surgeon will utilize either local or general anesthesia when performing nerve decompression surgery. General anesthesia places you in a deep sleep where you will not feel any pain during surgery while local anesthesia numbs the affected area, meaning you will not feel any pain in the affected area. Local anesthesia is commonly used for carpal tunnel nerve decompression while tennis elbow or ulnar nerve decompression may involve using general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make one-fourth inch incisions in your skin and insert a special tool called an arthroscope that has a camera on its end, which allows your surgeon to visualize the problem area. Your surgeon will then cut tendons that may be pressing on the nerve to reduce pressure that causes numbness, tingling and loss of function. Because the incisions used to access the damaged nerves are so small, your surgeon will use small pieces of tape or stitches to sew up any openings.

Nerve Decompression Considerations

While arthroscopic nerve decompression surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, the surgery is not without its risks. Discuss these with your physician in order to understand how you can care for your incisions after surgery and ensure the best result possible. Performing the surgery via arthroscopy methods offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Smaller surgical scar
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Less bleeding
  • Less infection risk


While you may experience some immediate symptom relief following surgery, it is possible your nerves may take several months before fully healing. The longer the nerve has been compressed, the longer the recovery period. Your physician may recommend physical therapy exercises following surgery to help restore strength and flexibility to the previously injured area. In rare instances, re-injury of the affected area can occur, which may require further surgical procedures to repair damage and restore function.

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