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No feeling on top of hand after laceration to arm

I cut my arm with grinder 5 days ago. I have complete movement of hand, fingers and wrist but have no feeling on top of my hand. I do though have feeling in all fingers except for top of thumb. The dr recommends surgery.
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replied December 6th, 2011
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Jds432,

The dorsum (back or top) of the hand from the thumb to about the midline of the ring finger is innervated by the superficial radial nerve.

If sounds like is was cut in the accident. You do not say if the it was a clean straight cut or if it was more of a rip, slash type of injury.

If it was a clean cut, then the nerve may be able to be sewed back together. If the nerve was ripped apart, then it may have to be grafted instead of repaired.

However, even in nice clean cuts, and the nerve is repaired promptly, it does not necessarily mean to you will get completely normal sensation back.

Many times, the surgery is performed so that the nerve does note develop a neuroma. A neuroma is a tangle of nerve fibers that can occur when a nerve is injured, and can be quite painful.

If the nerve fibers do regenerate, great, but it will take a long time for the sensation to come back. Usually, nerves that have been repaired, will sit around and think about things for about a month, then will start regenerating at a rate of about 1mm a day.

So, it is up to you, but it is usually recommended that the nerve be repaired. What would happen if you do not get it repaired? The worst thing would be that the back of the hand stays numb, may develop dry skin in the numb area, and you may develop a neuroma, which may be painful. The superficial radial nerve does not go to any muscles, so you would not develop any weakness from the nerve injury. (If you damaged the underlying tendons or muscles, that may cause weakness though.)


Discuss the situation with your surgeon. Good luck.
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