JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Successful treatment of meralgia paresthetica with pulsed radiofrequency of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

BACKGROUND: Meralgia paresthetica is a rarely encountered sensory mononeuropathy characterized by paresthesia, pain or sensory impairment along the distribution of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve caused by entrapment or compression of the nerve as it crosses the anterior superior iliac spine and runs beneath the inguinal ligament.

OBJECTIVE: We describe the first reported use of pulsed radiofrequency neuromodulation to relieve the intractable pain associated with meralgia paresthetica.

CASE REPORT: A 33-year-old morbidly obese female with a history of lower back pain and previous spinal fusion presented with sensory dysesthesias and paresthesias in the right anterolateral thigh, consistent with meralgia paresthetica. Temporary relief occurred with multiple lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and fascia lata blocks at 2 different institutions. The patient expressed dissatisfaction with her previous treatments and requested "any" therapeutic intervention that might lead to long-lasting pain relief. At this time, we located the anterior superior iliac spine and reproduced concordant dysesthesia. Pulsed radiofrequency was then undertaken at 42 degrees C for 120 seconds followed by dexamethasone and bupivicaine. The patient reported exceptional and prolonged pain relief at 6-month follow-up.

LIMITATIONS: Since this case report is not a prospective, randomized, controlled or blinded study, no conclusions may be drawn from the results attained on behalf of this single individual. Additional, larger group analyses studying this technique while eliminating bias from patient variables would be essential prior to assuming any validity to using pulsed radiofrequency techniques of neuromodulation for managing peripheral neuropathic pain processes.

CONCLUSION: The patient had experienced long-standing pain that was recalcitrant to conservative/pharmacologic therapy and multiple nerve blocks with local steroid instillations. A single treatment with pulsed radiofrequency resulted in complete and sustained cessation of pain. No side effects were evident. Pulsed radiofrequency of the LFCN may offer an effective, low risk treatment in patients with meralgia paresthetica who are refractory to conservative medical management or are unwilling or unfit to undergo surgery.

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