Late follow-up of peripheral neural decompression in leprosy: functional and clinical outcomes.
BACKGROUND: Peripheral neural surgical decompression (PNSD) is used as a complementary therapy to the clinical treatment of neuritis to preserve neural function.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term (≥ 1 year) clinical and functional results for PNSD in leprosy neuritis.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study included leprosy patients who were in late postoperative period (LPO) of surgical decompression of ulnar, median, tibial, and fibular nerves. Socioeconomic, epidemiological, and clinical data were collected. The following instruments were used in this evaluation: visual analogue pain scale (VAS), Douleur Neuropathique en 4 Questions (DN4), SALSA scale, and simplified neurological assessment protocol. The preoperative (PrO) and 180-day postoperative (PO180) results were compared.
RESULTS: We evaluated 246 nerves from 90 patients: 56.6% were on multidrug therapy (MDT) and 43.3% discharged from MDT. Motor scores and pain intensity showed statistically significant improvement (p<0.01). There was an increase in sensory scores only for bilateral ulnar nerves (p<0.05). Of the operated cases, 26.0% of patients were referred for surgery of ulnar neuritis and 23.6% of tibial neuritis. Neuropathic pain was reported in 41% of cases. Daily dose of prednisone reduced from 39.6 mg (±3.0) in PrO, 16.3 mg (±5.2) in PO180, to 1.7 mg (±0.8) in LPO. The SALSA scale results showed mild activity limitation in 51% and moderate in 34% of patients. Eighty percent of individuals reported that the results reached their expectations.
CONCLUSIONS: PNSD in leprosy was effective in the long term to decrease the prevalence and intensity of pain, improve motor function, and reduce the dose of corticosteroids, which is reflected in the patients' satisfaction.