About This Service


Advanced Treatment of Peripheral Nerve Issues

As one of the only centers in the northeastern United States specializing in surgical treatment of peripheral nervous system disorders, the Peripheral Nerve Surgery Service at Massachusetts General Hospital offers advanced treatment options to restore sensation, movement and motor skills.

Our service treats all peripheral nerve issues, including:

  • Traumatic peripheral nerve injuries including brachial plexus injury, major peripheral nerve injury and iatrogenic injury
  • Tumors of the peripheral nerve including schwannomas, neurofibroma and sarcoma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other compressive neuropathies 

Restoring Injured Nerves

Although peripheral nerves are able to heal themselves after minor injuries, serious injuries may require surgery.

Our surgeons specialize in treating nerve injuries throughout the body. We have extensive experience treating injuries to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves near the neck and shoulder that control the shoulder, arm and hand. We also offer specialized treatments to help restore nerves damaged during previous surgeries or other medical procedures (iatrogenic injuries).

Our surgeons are at the forefront of developing new techniques for reconstructing peripheral nerves severed or damaged by injury or tumor. One highly sophisticated procedure transfers healthy nerves from elsewhere in the body to a damaged area to "reanimate" body parts and restore normal functionality and feeling. 

Removing Nerve Tumors 

Nerve tumors sit directly on the nerve so surgery to remove them can be especially delicate. It is very important to avoid damage the nerve itself. The Peripheral Nerve Surgery Service's multidisciplinary team has extensive experience removing all types of peripheral nerve tumors:

  • Neurofibromas caused by neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder
  • Schwanommas, also known as nerve sheath tumors
  • Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (sarcomas)  that develop in the cells surrounding peripheral nerves 

Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Our surgeons treat carpal tunnel syndrome using either open surgery, making an incision in the palm of your hand, to relieve the pressure that is causing pain, tingling or numbness.

We also diagnose and treat other compression neuropathies that may be the result of tumors, injury or other causes. 

Collaborating for Comprehensive Care

Mass General takes a team approach to patient care. Your neurosurgeon will coordinate all of your care with a team of peripheral nerve specialists, including neurologists, radiologists, pathologists, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons and rehabilitation therapists.

To determine the best treatment approach, your neurosurgeon will conduct a thorough physical examination and may order diagnostic tests, including:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies
  • Tumor biopsies
  • Nerve biopsies

Before any surgical procedure, your care team will work together to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.