JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Meralgia paraesthetica following lumbar spine surgery: a study in 110 consecutive surgically treated cases.

Neurology India 2004 March
BACKGROUND: Lateral cutaneous femoral nerve (LCFN) injury or Meralgia paraesthetica (MP) results in restriction of activity. Compression of the nerve by disc hernia, retroperitoneal tumors, and external pressure around the anterior superior iliac spine is common. However, it is not commonly observed after lumbar spinal surgery in prone position.

STUDY DESIGN: In this prospective study of 110 patients who underwent elective lumbar spinal surgery, managed from January 2002 to June 2002, the incidence, possible risk factors, etiopathogenesis and management of MP were analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 66 males and 44 females. The age of the patients ranged from 15 to 81 years (mean 46.9 yrs.). Thirteen patients (12%) suffered from MP. It is more common in thinner individuals due to pressure injury to the nerve at its exit point. Ninety-two per cent of the patients were asymptomatic at follow-up after 6 months. In 7 out of 13 patients, patchy sensory loss on clinical examination was seen at 6 months.

CONCLUSION: MP after posterior lumbar spinal surgery is uncommon. Smaller bolsters may avoid some of the vulnerable pressure points, as the surface area available is relatively smaller. The posts of the Hall-Relton frame over the anterior superior iliac crest should be adequately padded. The condition is usually self-limiting. Surgical division or decompression of the LCFN is reserved for persistent or severe MP.

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