Odier at the beginning of the nineteenth century first described the enlargements or swellings which develop on the distal end of a proximal segment of a peripheral nerve after partial or complete division. He spoke of these as nerve tumors. Since that time these enlargements, or neuromas, have been frequently studied. Interest in them has often been stimulated by war, for the number of painful stumps following amputations necessitated by mutilating wounds or infections have made a study of neuromas, with a view of determining the factors concerned in neuroma formation and the cause of spontaneous pain after they have developed, imperative.
The histologic descriptions of neuromas differ widely. The variations are easily explained, for when the earlier histologic examinations were made, histologic methods were not refined and specific stains were not employed. With the introduction of the silver method, which permits of clear differentiation of the neuraxes, the descriptions