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Meralgia Paresthetica

General Information

  • Meralgia paresthetica occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve of the thigh becomes trapped in the groin area.
  • Obesity and obstructive respiratory disease with a chronic cough increase susceptibility.
  • The disorder affects men three times as often as women.

Symptoms

  • The primary symptom is paresthesia, or numbness in the thigh. The numbness may include burning, stinging, tingling, prickling, or a feeling "like pins and needles."
  • In the early stages symptoms are mild and intermittent. They are aggravated by standing or walking and relieved by lying down.
  • In advanced stages, paresthesia develops into shooting pains that are unaffected by position change.
  • Symptoms tend to regress spontaneously, but recurrence is common

Diagnosis

  • Diagnosis is based on the patient’s medical history and evidence of sensory loss strictly within the area of the thigh served by the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

Treatment

  • Non-surgical
    • They include eliminating clothing or accessories that may cause compression; weight loss and exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles; and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
    • These measures bring relief in approximately 90 percent of cases and should be tried prior to considering surgery.

  • Surgery
    • Decompression of the nerve.
    • Division of the nerve (neurectomy)
      • More effective at relieving pain.
      • Leaves permanent numbness in the area supplied by the nerve.
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