Meralgia paresthetica causes pain, burning, and loss of sensation in the anterolateral thigh. Surgical treatment traditionally involves neurolysis or neurectomy of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). After studying and publishing data on the anatomical feasibility of LFCN transposition, the author presents here the first case series of patients who underwent LFCN transposition.
Nineteen patients with meralgia paresthetica were treated in the Department of Neurological Surgery at University of Wisconsin between 2011 and 2016; 4 patients underwent simple decompression, 5 deep decompression, and 10 medial transposition. Data were collected prospectively and analyzed retrospectively. No randomization was performed. The groups were compared in terms of pain scores (based on a numeric rating scale) and reoperation rates.
The numeric rating scale scores dropped significantly in the deep-decompression (p = 0.148) and transposition (p < 0.0001) groups at both the 3- and 12-month follow-up. The reoperation rates were significantly lower in the deep-decompression and transposition groups (p = 0.0454) than in the medial transposition group.
Both deep decompression and transposition of the LFCN provide better results than simple decompression. Medial transposition confers the advantage of mobilizing the nerve away from the anterior superior iliac spine, giving it a straighter and more relaxed course in a softer muscle bed.