Nerve tumours grow on or within the nerve itself and are usually non-cancerous. A tumour is a tissue growth along the path of the nerve from fibrous tissue. Depending on the type of a tumour, surgical treatment may vary. Patients usually have various degrees of pain, numbness or sometimes muscle weakness due to this growth in the nerves. Physical examination, ultrasound or an MRI are typically used to verify the presence of a nerve tumour. Biopsy before surgery is usually recommended because of potential damage to normal nerve fibres.
SYMPTOMS OF A PERIPHERAL NERVE TUMOR:
Symptoms are related to the location and the type of nerve involved, as well as the size of a tumour. The common symptoms are:
- Varying degrees of pain
- Muscle weakness
It is necessary to remove a peripheral nerve tumour because if it is not removed there are high risks of it turning into malignancies. Depending on the histological nature of a tumour, the type of surgical treatment can vary. The goal is to remove a tumour without hurting the nerve. After removing a segment of nerve, the nerve is reconstructed. This reconstruction can be limited to a portion of the nerve or the entire nerve segment.
The operation becomes significantly complicated when surgeons remove malignant tumours or plexiform neurofibromas, which are thick, irregular and can entwine or intermingle with different support structures like the underlying bone, muscle, tendon or thick layers of fascia which cover up the muscles. With either of these tumours, the surgeon might have to remove the nerve. If this happens, nerve transfers or grafting can be used to restore the function of the nerve.