Acute nerve injuries are routinely encountered in multisystem trauma patients. Advances in surgical treatment of nerve injuries now mean that good outcomes can be achieved. Despite this, old mantras associated with management of nerve injuries, including "wait a year to see if recovery occurs" and "there's nothing we can do", persist. Practicing by these mantras places these patients at a disadvantage.Changes begin to occur in the nerve, neuromuscular junction, and muscle from the moment a nerve injury occurs. These changes can become irreversible approximately 18-24 months following denervation. Thus, it is a race to reestablish a functional nerve-muscle connection prior to these irreversible changes. Good outcomes rely on appropriate acute management and avoiding delays in care. Primary nerve surgery options include direct primary repair, nerve graft repair, and nerve transfer. Acute management of nerve injuries proceeds according to the rule of 3s and requires early cooperation between trauma surgeons who recognize the nerve injury and consultant nerve surgeons.Care of patients with acute, traumatic nerve injuries should not be delayed. Awareness of current management paradigms among trauma surgeons will help facilitate optimal upfront management. With the ever-expanding surgical options for management of these injuries and the associated improvement of outcomes, early multidisciplinary approaches to these injuries has never been more important. Old mantras must be replaced with new paradigms in order to continue to see improvements in outcomes for these patients. The importance of this review is to raise awareness among trauma surgeons of new paradigms for management of traumatic nerve injuries.
View details for PubMedID 30278019