A neuroma is a growth within the nerve tissue that may or may not be cancerous. An abdominal neuroma, or neuroma in the abdominal wall, is a common ailment among women, especially those who are post-menopausal. This condition also occurs frequently in women who have undergone surgery in other parts of the body, such as breast reconstruction.
Pain in the pelvis is a major sign of latent or active neuroma. Other signs include pain in the region called rectus abdominis or in the lower abdomen. In either case, the neuroma can cause acute and extremely high levels of pain. However, the symptoms of a neuroma can easily be mistaken for other conditions, such as a hernia, nerve entrapment or myofascial pain. As a result, an accurate diagnosis is essential.
Doctor's use the Carnett's test to diagnose neuromas. In a Carnett's test, you begin by lying flat while the doctor feels your abdomen for tenderness. Once the doctor identifies a tender area, you'll be asked to contract the abdominal muscles and raise your head from the table until you are sitting at a 45-degree angle. The doctor will keep his hands on the tender area as you do this sit-up, and you will have your hands folded behind your head. If the pain disappears when you sit up, it is a sign that there is a growth in the abdominal wall. Further tests may confirm the existence of a neuroma.
Treatments are complex, and depend on the extent and nature of the neuroma. Treatment focuses primarily on the symptoms. Painkillers and analgesics work to an extent. A local anesthetic is a higher level of treatment that is given to relieve pain. For this, the doctor has to identify the exact location of the neuroma and inject the anaesthesia. A slight variation in location can result in complications. If the pain is heavy, which it usually is, a combination of anesthetic and corticosteroid can be given.
In advanced neuromas, surgery may be performed. The surgery has to be performed by an oncology surgeon in cases in which the neuroma may be cancerous. In cases in which the neuroma is non-cancerous, a plastic surgeon carries out the surgery and removes the lesion or growth. Extreme care has to be taken, as this is an intricate procedure. A slight error at any point may result in spreading the neuroma. This could result in serious complications.