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Signs of nerve damage after surgery

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

The nerves play an essential role in the body’s function. They carry signals to the brain about everything concerning your body, including balance, temperature, texture and pain. 

So, what happens when the nerves get damaged during surgery? Once the communication pathway is interrupted, it may cause serious consequences, including chronic pain.

How does nerve damage occur?

All surgeries carry some risk, but unfortunately, nerve damage during surgery may be the result of negligence by the medical provider. Here are two ways nerve damage may occur:

  1. Surgical errors: Some surgical errors, such as contact between surgical instruments and nerve tissue or an incision in the wrong place, may cause significant nerve damage.
  2. Errors when administering anesthesia: When a doctor administers local anesthesia using a syringe, they should avoid contact between the syringe and nerves. In case of contact, the nerves may get damaged. On the other hand, when the anesthesiologist performs regional anesthesia, which involves injecting an anesthetic into the spinal column, they have to be careful since this part of the body is full of nerves.

Similarly, the anesthesiologist may make a mistake when administering general anesthesia and cause nerve damage. This may easily happen because the patient’s body loses its ability to sense pain and discomfort. 

How to spot the signs of nerve damage

You will likely experience painful and uncomfortable sensations when the nerves aren’t functioning properly. This is because the nerves aren’t carrying the right signals to the brain. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, you may experience varying symptoms, including the following:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Regularly dropping objects involuntarily
  • Severe pain in your hands and legs
  • Complete loss of movement

Generally, signs of nerve damage may be more severe in the injured part of the body. For instance, if the nerves in your arm are damaged, you will notice more symptoms in that arm than in your feet.

Surgery involves some unavoidable risks. However, some cases of nerve injury are preventable and may have been caused by the negligence of a nurse or surgeon. If this is the case, you may be able to make a claim and get compensation for damages.