Surgical Treatment of Piriformis Syndrome

Suk Ku Han, Yong Sik Kim, Tae Hyeon Kim, Soo Hwan Kang
Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery 2017, 9 (2): 136-144

BACKGROUND: Piriformis syndrome (PS) is an uncommon disease characterized by symptoms resulting from compression/irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. Uncertainty and controversy remain regarding the proper diagnosis and most effective form of treatment for PS. This study analyzes the diagnostic methods and efficacy of conservative and surgical treatments for PS.

METHODS: From March 2006 to February 2013, we retrospectively reviewed 239 patients who were diagnosed with PS and screened them for eligibility according to our inclusion/exclusion criteria. All patients underwent various conservative treatments initially including activity modification, medications, physical therapy, local steroid injections into the piriformis muscle, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy for at least 3 months. We resected the piriformis muscle with/without neurolysis of the sciatic nerve in 12 patients who had intractable sciatica despite conservative treatment at least for 3 months. The average age of the patients (4 males and 8 females) was 61 years (range, 45 to 71 years). The average duration of symptoms before surgery was 22.1 months (range, 4 to 72 months), and the mean follow-up period was 22.7 months (range, 12 to 43 months). We evaluated the degree of pain and recorded the responses using a visual analog scale (VAS) preoperatively and 3 days and 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS: Buttock pain was more improved than sciatica with various conservative treatments. Compared with preoperatively, the VAS score was significantly decreased after the operation. Overall, satisfactory results were obtained in 10 patients (83%) after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: PS is thought to be an exclusively clinical diagnosis, and if the diagnosis is performed correctly, surgery can be a good treatment option in patients with refractory sciatica despite appropriate conservative treatments.


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