Superior cluneal nerve (SCN) entrapment neuropathy is a poorly understood clinical entity that can produce low-back pain. The authors report a less-invasive surgical treatment for SCN entrapment neuropathy that can be performed with local anesthesia.
From November 2010 through November 2011, the authors performed surgery in 34 patients (age range 18–83 years; mean 64 years) with SCN entrapment neuropathy. The entrapment was unilateral in 13 patients and bilateral in 21. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 10 months (range 6–18 months). After the site was blocked with local anesthesia, the thoracolumbar fascia of the orifice was dissected with microscissors in a distal-to-rostral direction along the SCN to release the entrapped nerve. Results were evaluated according to Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) and Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) scores.
In all 34 patients, the SCN penetrated the orifice of the thoracolumbar fascia and could be released by dissection of the fascia. There were no intraoperative surgery-related complications. For all patients, surgery was effective; JOA and RMDQ scores indicated significant improvement (p < 0.05).
For patients with low-back pain, SCN entrapment neuropathy must be considered as a causative factor. Treatment by less-invasive surgery, with local anesthesia, yielded excellent clinical outcomes.