Meralgia paresthetica or Meralgia paraesthetica is numbness or pain in the outer thigh not caused by injury to the thigh, but by injury to a nerve that extends from the thigh to the spinal column. This chronic neurological disorder involves a single nerve—the lateral cutaneous nerve of thigh, which is also called the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (and hence the syndrome lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy).
Pain on the outer side of the thigh, occasionally extending to the outer side of the knee, usually constant following: A burning sensation, tingling, or numbness in the same area, Multiple bee-sting like pains in the affected area, Occasionally, aching in the groin area or pain spreading across the buttocks.
Diagnosis is largely based on patient description and relevant details about recent surgeries, hip injuries, or repetitive activities that could irritate the nerve. Examination checks for sensory differences between the affected leg and the other leg. Accurate diagnosis may require an abdominal and pelvic examination to exclude problems in those areas. Electromyographic (EMG) nerve-conduction studies may be required. X-rays may be needed to exclude bone abnormalities that might put pressure on the nerve; likewise CT.
In most cases, the best treatment is to remove the cause of compression by modifying patient behavior, in combination with medical treatment to relieve inflammation and pain. Whatever the cause, typical treatment takes several weeks to months—depending on the degree of nerve damage.
Forty-five decompressive procedures were performed in 42 patients over the 5-year period. The average duration of symptoms was 31 (2.5-180) months. All patients were followed for an average of 4.1 years. Complete and partial symptom improvements were noted in 33 (73%) and 9 (20%) cases, respectively. No recurrence was reported. Analysis of clinical variables demonstrated that the duration of symptoms preoperatively did not affect the rate of complete symptom relief.