Disorders of Peripheral Nerves

  • Larry E. DavisEmail author
  • Sarah Pirio Richardson


The peripheral nervous system involves all nerves lying outside the spinal cord and brainstem except the olfactory and optic nerves that are extensions of the central nervous system itself. All peripheral nerve axons are invested either with a wrapping of myelin made by Schwann cells (myelinated nerve) or by cytoplasm of Schwann cells (unmyelinated nerve). The chapter begins with a discussion of common major clinical features and mechanisms of damage of all motor and sensory nerves. Three common diseases of peripheral nerves are then discussed in detail: diabetic distal symmetrical polyneuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, Bell’s palsy or idiopathic peripheral facial nerve palsy, with attention to their pathophysiology, major clinical features, major laboratory findings, and principles of management and prognosis.


Peripheral nervous system Schwann cells Dorsal root ganglion Wallerian degeneration Dying-back neuropathy Myelination Demyelination Diabetic distal symmetrical polyneuropathy Carpal tunnel syndrome Bell’s palsy 

Supplementary material

272524_2_En_6_MOESM1_ESM.m2t (490.5 mb)
(5,02,317 KB)

Recommended Reading

  1. Alfonso C, Jann S, Massa R, Torreggiani A. Diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of the carpal tunnel syndrome. Neurol Sci. 2010;31:243–52. (A synthesis of current knowledge in carpal tunnel syndrome).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. British Medical Research Council. Aids to the examination of the peripheral nervous system. 5th edn. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2010. (Superb booklet that outlines how to test each muscle, describes areas of sensation for all peripheral nerves, and easily can be kept in doctor’s bag).Google Scholar
  3. Gilden DH. Bell’s Palsy. N Engl J Med. 2004;351:1323–31. (Excellent review with good illustrations).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Said G. Diabetic neuropathy—a review. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2007;3(6):331–40. (Good review of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation and treatment of diabetic neuropathy).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chief Neurology ServiceDistinguished Professor of Neurology New Mexico VA Health Care SystemAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology Health Sciences CenterUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

Personalised recommendations