Dr. Stepan with a patient
Dr. Stepan with a nerve patient
The University of Chicago Medicine is committed to delivering comprehensive nerve injury treatment. Our goal is to reduce pain, restore mobility and function, and promote nerve regeneration. We work with each individual patient to understand their unique nerve condition and develop a treatment plan designed to meet their long-term, healthcare goals.

Multidisciplinary Team for Comprehensive Nerve Damage Care

Nerve damage is complex, so our multidisciplinary nerve team, including orthopaedic surgeons, pain management, radiology, neurology and more, works closely together to diagnose and treat these nerve conditions. We will evaluate each patient’s condition(s), symptoms and overall outcome goals to determine which specialists will partner with our patients to develop a customized treatment plan that would best meet their specific needs.

Nerve Damage We Treat

Our team manages a wide range of nerve damage conditions that fall under two major types of nerve injuries:

  • Motor Nerves: Motor nerves control muscle movements, such as walking, writing, sitting and standing, hand dexterity, and so much more. When motor nerves are damaged, you may experience muscle weakness, numbness or decreased mobility that can make common movements difficult.
  • Sensory Nerves: Sensory nerves allow you to experience the five primary senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight. With sensory nerve damage, the nerves that carry signals from the body to the brain are not functioning properly. This can result in a range of symptoms depending on the extent of damage, including numbness, tingling or burning sensations, loss of sensation, and difficulties with balance and coordination.
  • Mixed Motor and Sensory Nerves: Many nerves contain both sensory and motor portions which can lead to a mix of motor and sensory damage.

Common Nerve Damage and Injuries We Treat:

  • Brachial plexus neck and or shoulder nerve injury
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Klumpke Palsy
  • Saturday Night Palsy
  • Radial nerve injury
  • Median nerve injury
  • Ulnar nerve injury
  • Musculocutaneous nerve injury
  • Femoral nerve injury
  • Sciatic nerve injury
  • Peroneal nerve injury
  • Tibial nerve injury

What causes nerve damage and injures?

There are several causes of nerve damage, with the most common including:

  • Trauma, such as accidents, falls and more, that can lead to a severed, cut or lacerated nerve.
  • Neuroma, or a mass of nerve and scar tissue, develops after an injury that impedes function and causes pain.

Nerve Damage Symptoms

Injury or damage to nerves can come from cuts, bruises or compression, that lead to symptoms such as pain, weakness, loss of function, numbness, sensitivity to touch and more. It is important to pay attention to how your body and nerves are functioning, particularly if you experiencing:

  • Weakness
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Twitching
  • Paralysis
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Positional unawareness

If you have one or more of the following symptoms and suspect you have nerve damage, you should reach out to a nerve specialist to accurately diagnose your conditions in order to treat your condition, prevent further complications and improve overall quality of life.

Surgical Nerve Damage Treatment

Our comprehensive nerve injury team offers the full scope of treatment options for nerve damage that are tailored to each patient’s personal diagnosis, symptoms and objectives, and we offer:

Direct Nerve Repair

If a nerve has been cut, direct nerve repair can be used to surgically restore function. During this procedure, any damaged nerve tissue will be removed, and the severed ends of the nerve will be sutured together.

Nerve Grafting

When a severed nerve is too damaged to connect through direct nerve repair, we offer nerve grafting. With nerve grafting, nerve tissue from another part of the body is used to bridge the gap between both damaged ends of the cut nerve to allow the nerve to regrow. Alternatively, a cadaver nerve (nerve allograft) can be used to bridge the gap.

Nerve Burying: Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) and Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interphase (RPNI)

Painful neuromas, noncancerous nerve masses, can form on hands and feet and may not be ideal for nerve repair. If nerve repair is not possible, we can move the painful neuroma to grow into another muscle to prevent another neuroma from forming.

Tendon Transfer

Tendon transfer procedures are commonly used to restore function and movement if a nerve is injured and cannot be repaired. By using a healthy tendon from another part of the body, our surgeons can suture it to an unresponsive muscle to stimulate function in that location where the nerve damage occurred.

Nerve Transfer

Nerve transfer is a surgical technique used to restore nerve function after injury or paralysis. A nerve transfer uses a healthy nerve from a less critical muscle and connects it to a nonfunctioning, damaged nerve. The donor nerve will grow over the damaged nerve, allowing it to recover function and keep the muscles from atrophying.

Our Nerve Injury Clinic