Nerves are clever wires that run all through your body. The cells in a nerve are called neurones and they conduct electricity around your body to control your movements, bring back information from your body to your brain and tell you if things are hot or cold or painful.

If your hurt your nerves you can have muscles that dont work to move parts of your body, and you can have tingling, loss of feeling and sometimes pains as well.

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Why is my finger ‘sparkling’?

When nerves are injured the part of the body they connect to can have some very strange things happen to them.

Nerves connect the part of the body to the brain: Your finger, for example, has nerves that run up to near your spine, link with other nerves in your spine then up to your brain. This signal travels so quickly that when your finger touches something your brain knows about it and so you can feel it. It tells if it is rough or smooth, hot or cold, sharp, heavy… all of those things.

So when your nerves are injured there can be problems with any or all of those feeling nerves.

Sometimes people can have loss of feeling – their finger goes all ‘numb’ (said N-uh-m)which means if they touch it on something sharp cold smooth or hot they cannot tell any of these. The finger has no feelings it is numb.

One thing that can happen to some people with nerve injury is that they can have some strange feelings in the part of the body contolled by the injured nerve: doctors call these parasthesiae (it is said like this:para-ss-these-ee-ee). These have lots of names..’pins and needles’, ‘sparkles’, ‘tingles’ but they are a feeling of prickling or tingling in your skin. They are not noramlly painful, just plain strange.

Sometimes there can be feelings which are not normal and not nice. These are called dythesiae (said Dis-these-ee-ee) and are tinglings or prickles which are not nice. There can also be pains which can be there all the time (spontaneous) or happen on if the finger is touch (evoked). These pains are called neuropathic (said nur-O-path-ic) which means they are pains from injury to nerves and luckily they are very rare for chidlren to have. Lots of adults with nerve injury get these nasty pains but children tend to only get the tingling and loss of feelings.


They can happen when there is still feeling in the finger or when the finger has lost its feeling.


Questions & Answers

I am worried about having an operation on my nerves.

It is normal to be worried about things you dont know much about. An operation sounds like a scary thing doesnt it?

How about getting into a 300 ton metal tube pressurised with air and filled with explosive liquid along with hundreds of other people to hurtle over a huge ocean?

How about having a concoction of plant proteins and fats rendered into an emulsion with animal gland secrections fed to you through a cannulated tube?

Sounds scary?

Well… they were descriptions of flying in an airplane to go on holiday and drinking a milkshake!

-Somethings can sounds scary when they arent!

Starting a new school was scary wasnt it?  but then it was really good.

How about thinking of an operation as ‘something to make you better where you are the special one for the whole time, where everyone in a team of over 10 really clever and highly trained people are working to their best to make you better’. Then it starts to sound more like what it really is.

It’s scary sure but only as you dont know what it is all about, all the kids who have had operations will tell you it was fine, some even say it was fun to go to the kids ward and play on the games computers and toys there, to make new friends. Your Mum or Dad or who whoever is looking after you can stay with you all the time too.

Will I get a scar from my surgery?

Scars happen when ever the skin is cut all the way through. Some grazes will heal without scarring as they are just the top layer of skin which has been hurt. Lots of people have scars from injuries, cuts when out playing for example.

Scars tell a story, they show how you have come through an injury.

So yes in answer to your question your operation will give your a scar.

When the operation is over I will put stitches under your skin, these are dissolvable (a bit like ice melting in a drink) and go way by themselves. The skin is healed together by about 10-14 days after your operation (depending on how old you are and some other factors too). When the skin is healed you can wash (bath and shower). But before this you must keep it clean and dry.

The scar will be very neat when the scar has fully healed but to get to this point takes around a year. At first the scar is red then over time it goes white. After the skin has healed (10-14 days) you can make the scar heal to it best by massaging it (or getting an adult to help massage it for you) with oil. This will make it heal as a strong and smooth line.

What do I have to do after my operation?

After your operation on your nerves you might have to keep your arm or leg still for a few weeks. This might mean a plaster case or a sling or brace (these are things that keep your comfy whilst things heal). Or you might be allowed to move your arm or leg from day one after the operation.

Which ever of these it is, you have to keep the healing wound clean and dry. Keep the dressings over the scar on and don’t get it wet.

When you are allowed to move the arm or leg it is important you do your exercises. There will be an exercise sheet to do – these are really important as the operatoin its self can only do some of the job, you have to do your bit to get yourself as fixed as possible; This means doing the exercises.

Will my arm get completely better?

I can’t answer that question right now, it depends for each person and each nerve injury. Some will get totally better, some alot better but maybe not perfect, and some only a little bit better, but still better because of the operation.

So make sure you ask me in person, or ask the adult you bring with you to ask me !