Functional Outcome of Early, Selective Surgical Nerve Decompression in Leprous Neuropathy.
Leprous neuropathy is a significant, yet preventable, cause of disability worldwide. Decompressive surgery and oral steroids have been used along with Multi Drug Therapy (MDT) for treating leprous neuropathy with varied success as reported in literature. We prospectively studied 16 peripheral nerves in 10 patients with leprous neuropathy of less than a year duration and not responding to steroid therapy in 3 weeks. The patients were divided into 2 groups: Group-A (decompressive nerve surgery was done within 12 weeks of onset of neurological deficit), and Group-B (nerve decompression was performed after 12 weeks from onset of neurological deficit). Post-operatively patients were assessed for regression of deformity, sensory, motor, vasomotor recovery and neuropathic pain. Median age of patients was 32 years (range; 18 years to 46 years). Mean motor score and mean grip strength was significantly better for group A patients at 2 years follow-up ( < 0.05). Mean sensory score improved significantly in both the groups ( < 0.05). Similarly, mean VAS score for neuropathic pain improved significantly in both the groups ( < 0.05). Recovery of autonomic function was observed in 3 nerves in group A and 1 in group B. The cases who underwent nerve decompression surgery within 12 weeks had better functional outcomes, especially in terms of motor recovery, than those who were operated after that. Studies involving larger number of patients are required to draw firm conclusions.