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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 105-106

Meralgia paresthetica after total hip arthroplasty in supine position

Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Safdarjang Hospital, Near Arya Samaj Mandir, Model Town III, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Gaurav Chauhan
Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Safdarjang Hospital, Near Arya Samaj Mandir, Model Town III, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1658-354X.109857

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Date of Web Publication30-Mar-2013

How to cite this article:
Chauhan G, Gupta K, Nayar P. Meralgia paresthetica after total hip arthroplasty in supine position. Saudi J Anaesth 2013;7:105-6

How to cite this URL:
Chauhan G, Gupta K, Nayar P. Meralgia paresthetica after total hip arthroplasty in supine position. Saudi J Anaesth [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Mar 30];7:105-6. Available from:


A 62-year-old woman was scheduled for elective total hip arthroplasty of right hip joint via minimally invasive techniques of an anterolateral modification of the Watson-Jones approach. She had body mass index (BMI) of 32.7 kg/m 2 and history of hypertension since last 15 years, treated with tab. Hydrochlorthiazide 25 mg OD. Pre-anesthetic examination was within normal limits with unremarkable airway, chest, and cardiac findings. On the day of surgery, she was shifted to the preoperative room, and monitoring of ECG, pulse oximetry, and blood pressure was started. The anesthetic plan of performing the procedure under spinal anesthesia was made. Patient was administered O 2 (4 L/min) via ventimask, and pre-medication administered was inj. Ranitidine 50 mg IV and inj. Metoclopramide 10 mg IV. A spinal needle was placed via mid-line approach, in L4-5 interspace with the patient in sitting position and a bolus of 3 ml of 0.5% bupivacaine with fentanyl 2 μg/ml was administered. Upper level of analgesia at the T8 segment was achieved bilaterally. After 3 h of uneventful surgery, in supine position, she was transferred to the post anesthesia care unit. Two hours into postoperative period, the patient complained of unpleasant paresthesia and a burning sensation over the anterolateral left thigh, which progressed to stinging pain sensation in the affected area radiating to groin. Patient was immediately administered inj. Diclofenac 75 mg IM. Neurological examination revealed pain on palpation with no motor weakness of the right anterior thigh. X-ray of the pelvis revealed no abnormality. The electromyography study, done the following day, revealed no reflex or motor deficit indicative of the involvement of other nerves. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), done to exclude soft tissue injury, was inconclusive. She was diagnosed as having meralgia paresthetica (MP) and was prescribed tab. ibuprofen 400 mg TDS, tab. pregabalin 100 mg TDS, and tab. vitamin B6 100 mg orally BD after consultation with neurologist.

MP is a entrapment mononeuropathy often caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN), as it travels along the posterolateral aspect of the psoas major muscle, crossing between the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and the inguinal ligament, before entering the thigh. [1] It is frequently related to iliac bone graft harvesting, but MP can occur de novo as a transient compression neuropathy and only a few cases are reported in the literature related to prone and lateral decubitus position during surgery. [2] It was possibly caused by the pelvic bolster or support placed on the left side during surgery in supine position to avoid movement on the operating table. To our knowledge, there are no reported cases in supine position. [3] Diagnosis of MP is based on an appropriate clinical examination, and the symptoms range from tingling and numbness along with burning pain in or on the surface of the outer part of thigh to dull pain in groin area or across buttocks. [4] These symptoms commonly occur only on one side of the body and may intensify after walking or standing. It was important to exclude a neurological complication caused by spinal anesthesia, which often manifests itself as a radiculopathy, which follows the dermatomal distribution of the affected nerve root with sensory disturbance, paresis or plegia, and hypo- or areflexia. [5] Furthermore, the surgical procedure could not be the cause because the affected side was opposite to the one operated on. The condition is usually self-limiting and does not require any specific treatment. Patients and physicians may misunderstand the persistence of lower extremity symptoms in the early postoperative period to be a reflection of surgical sequelae or anesthetic complication. Furthermore, it is associated with restriction of daily living and may cause psychological trauma to the patient.

The position-related MP is not uncommon and the anesthesiologist should be aware of its existence. Careful symmetrical positioning, with correct position of points of support and appropriate size cushioning pads, is required to avoid pressure over the ASIS intraoperatively. An exhaustive clinical and neurological examination is important to exclude any neurological complications due to regional anesthesia or the surgery performed. As soon as MP is suspected, it can be treated with medication, physiotherapy, local steroid/anesthetic injection, or, in refractory cases, nerve decompression surgery. Patient should be adequately counseled, reassured, and explained about this phenomenon.

  References Top

1.Dias Filho LC, Valença MM, Guimaräes Filho FA, Medeiros RC, Silva RA, Morais MG, et al. Lateral femoral cutaneous neuralgia: An anatomical insight. Clin Anat 2003;16:309-16.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Murata Y, Takahashi K, Yamagata M, Shimada Y, Moriya H. The anatomy of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, with special reference to the harvesting of iliac bone graft. J Bone Joint Surg Am 2000;82:746-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Gupta A, Muzumdar D, Ramani PS. Meralgia paraesthetica following lumbar spine surgery: A study in 110 consecutive surgically treated cases. Neurol India 2004;52:64-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Nouraei SA, Anand B, Spink G, O'Neill KS. A novel approach to the diagnosis and management of meralgia paresthetica. Neurosurgery 2007;60:696-700; discussion 700.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Trummer M, Flaschka G, Unger F, Eustacchio S. Lumbar disc herniation mimicking meralgia paresthetica: Case report. Surg Neurol 2000;54:80-1.  Back to cited text no. 5


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