In patients with diabetes for more than 25 years, more than half of the patients have neuropathic disorders. The main symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are numbness, motor impairment (paralysis) and pain in particular. Most often the legs are affected; the sensitivity of the soles of the feet is reduced.
One of the reasons for development of diabetic neuropathy is the incorporation of water-binding-metabolites in the connective tissue of the nerves (osmotically active metabolites such as sorbitol). The result is a slowly progressive chronic swelling that leads to an internal compression of the nerve fibers and causes the symptoms described above.
Recent studies have shown that a specific (micro) surgical decompression (relief) of the affected nerve can both improve the function (improvement of sensitivity and motor skills) and lead to an alleviation of pain. The known poor wound healing in diabetics may be counteracted by prolonged immobilization and antibiotic administration.
The health insurance companies cover the cost of the surgery, which can be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia.