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Unilateral Peripheral Neuropathy
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Unilateral Peripheral Neuropathy

I know that peripheral neuropathy tends to be bilateral in nature.  However, in my case it is only on one side and I was told that it can't really be a peripheral neuropathy because it never happens to just one side. The neurologist referred to it as a peripheral neuropathy and he said that he called it this for lack of anything else to call it, but he doesn't really think it could be a neuropathy because he said that neuropathies in your hands or feet would be on both sides.

In your experience, have there been any cases of unilateral peripheral neuropathy and if so, what have the underlying causes been?

Robin
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Dear Robin:

In many cases a peripheral neuropathy can be symmetric or bilateral.  However, depending on the etiology it can be one-sided.  For instance, in a patient with a collagen-vascular disorder we may see the initial signs as a asymmetric or one-sided neuropathy.  Trauma can give an one-sided neuropathy.  Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy can present as an asymmetric polyneuropathy.  If there is a root problem, one can see this be one-sided also.  So, although your neurologist is correct, especially for systemic causes of polyneuropathy, we can and do see asymmetric neuropathy.

CCF Neuro MD
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Thank you for your response.  I know this may sound stupid, but what is a root problem?  I didn't understand what that means.

Robin
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Dear Robin:

Sorry, I didn't explain myself.  A root problem means that the problem is where the spinal nerves exit the spinal cord.  We call these anterior or posterior roots, or sensory or motor roots.

CCF Neuro MD
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