To improve diagnostic accuracy and achieve high levels of treatment success in patients with pudendal nerve entrapment (PNE) syndromes, the author of this study applied advanced technology diagnostics in distinguishing the various syndrome types according to the different entrapment locations and evaluated new minimal access surgical techniques to treat each subtype.
Two hundred cases were prospectively evaluated using a standardized set of patient-completed functional and symptom assessments, a collection of new physical examination maneuvers, MR neurography, open MR image–guided injections, intraoperative neurophysiology, minimal access surgery, and formal outcome assessment with the Oswestry Disability Index, pain diagrams, and analog pain scales.
Four primary types of PNE syndromes were identified based on the different locations of entrapment: Type I, entrapment at the exit of the greater sciatic notch in concert with piriformis muscle spasm; Type II, entrapment at the level of the ischial spine, sacrotuberous ligament, and lesser sciatic notch entrance; Type III, entrapment in association with obturator internus muscle spasm at the entrance of the Alcock canal; and Type IV, distal entrapment of terminal branches. The application of new, targeted minimal access surgical techniques led to sustained good to excellent outcomes (50–100% improvement in the pain score or functional score) in 87% of patients. Most of these patients obtained most of their improvement within 4 weeks of surgery, although some continued to experience progressive improvements up to 12 months after surgery.
The application of advanced diagnostics to categorize PNE syndrome origins into 4 major subtypes and the subsequent treatment of each subtype with a tailored strategy greatly improved therapeutic outcomes as compared with those reported when only a single treatment paradigm was applied to all patients.