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What are the Different Types of Neuroma Surgery?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Neuroma surgery refers to surgery performed to fix or remove a nerve or growth on a nerve. Most commonly, neuroma surgery refers to procedures for Morton’s neuroma, an enlarged nerve in the ball of the foot. Decompression or removal of the nerve are the two surgical options. Surgeons performing surgery for Morton's neuroma will use a dorsal method, entering form the top of the foot, on a plantar method, entering from the bottom of the foot, to repair the damaged nerve. Neuroma surgery can also be a procedure for acoustic neuroma. This is a non-cancerous tumor on the eighth cranial nerve in the brain.

Morton’s neuroma is an enlarged nerve that forms between the third and fourth metatarsal heads, located between the third and fourth toes. The tissue surrounding the nerve becomes thick from repeated injuries caused when the person puts pressure on the nerve. Each time the person steps down, the nerve becomes compressed by the containing structure of the nerve, known as the deep transverse metatarsal ligament, and scar tissue will continue to build up from each injury. The nerve can also become damaged if the nerve is pinched during an activity that causes the two metatarsal heads to twist in opposing directions. Common contributing factors to Morton's nerve include wearing tight or high heeled shoes, flat feet, and bunions.

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When morton's neuroma surgery is necessary, a surgeon may perform a decompression procedure where he or she will cut or remove the ligaments or tissues surrounding the nerve. A cryogenic neuroablation is also an option for a person with Morton’s neuroma. This procedure exposes the nerves to extremely cold temperatures to destroy the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. The nerve remains intact during this fairly painless procedure, but it is not a permanent solution for those with Morton's neuroma.

Removing the enlarged nerve is another type of neuroma surgery. This is usually a last resort procedure, as there can be many complications associated with the surgery. Also, the removal of the nerve will cause permanent numbness of the area of the foot.

Neuroma surgery can also be performed for acoustic neuroma, also known as auditor neuroma. This refers to a tumor on the eighth cranial nerve in the brain, and although it is benign, the tumor can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, and facial numbness. Surgical procedures for acoustic neuroma include using a "gamma knife" to break down the tumor using lasers, or conventional brain surgery to remove either the tumor or the entire eighth cranial nerve. After surgery, regular monitoring will be needed to check for regrowth of of the tumor.

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