Meralgia paresthetica

Entrapment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, a skin nerve in the groin area that exits in the area of the groin ligament (Ligamentum inguinale).

Symptoms

Burning, altered sensation and feelings of numbness in the front and side of the thigh. Even touching the area causes an unpleasant feeling and pressing on the exit site can cause the paresthesia to radiate. There is restriction of movement, although no direct muscle weakness. The symptoms get worse after standing for long periods or stretching the leg.

Possible causes: frequently wearing tight clothing or belts, scarring following abdominal operations, after cardiac catheterisation, obesity, surgery or injuries to the bones and other structures in this area and others. Space occupying lesions can be excluded with an MRI scan.

Treatment

In mild cases, simply taking pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory medication, the use of injections that include cortisone preparations and physiotherapy are sufficient to relieve the symptoms of this condition.

If the symptoms last more than 6 weeks, or if the symptoms become unbearable, then surgical decompression is required. The procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetics or under general anaesthetics, again either as an outpatient or as an in-patient. A small skin incision is all that's required to expose the nerve and create more space. Sometimes, the skin nerves need to be resected.

A protection time of 1-2 weeks is recommended post-operatively. Physiotherapy should then be commenced.