Nerve Injuries

Nerve injury includes total or partial transection of the nerve from stretching, cutting (laceration), compression, shearing, or crushing injuries. Nerve injuries are classified by the degree of pathological change in the nerve. Grade I nerve injury is called neurapraxia and is a minor injury from which full recovery occurs. With neurapraxia, there is no loss of nerve continuity, and functional loss is temporary. Grade II nerve injury, called axonotmesis, is a more severe injury, and although some secondary reparative processes occur, recovery can eventually take place. With axonotmesis, there is interruption of the internal nerve fibers (axons), but the external structures covering the nerve remain intact. A situation in which the nerve is severely damaged by crushing, laceration, or complete transection is called neurotmesis. This is a grade III injury, and it results in some degree of permanent impairment. With neurotmesis, there is complete functional loss unless surgery to re-attach the nerve is performed.

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