Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 161, Issue 2, pp 263–269 | Cite as

Histopathologic changes inside the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve obtained from patients with persistent symptoms of meralgia paresthetica

  • Godard C. W. de RuiterEmail author
  • Joann Lim
  • Bregje J. W. Thomassen
  • Sjoerd G. van Duinen
Original Article - Peripheral Nerves
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Peripheral Nerves



In patients with persistent symptoms of meralgia paresthetica, a neurectomy of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) can be performed to alleviate pain symptoms. The neurectomy procedure can be performed either as a primary procedure or after failure of a previously performed neurolysis or decompression of the LFNC (secondary neurectomy). The goal of the present study was to quantify the histopathologic changes inside the LFCN obtained from patients with persistent symptoms of meralgia paresthetica, and specifically to compare to what extend these changes are present after primary versus secondary neurectomy.


A total of 39 consecutive cases were analyzed microscopically: in 29 cases, the neurectomy had been performed as primary procedure, in 10 cases, after failed neurolysis. Intraneural changes were quantified for the (1) thickening of perineurium, (2) deposition of mucoid, and (3) percentage of collagen. Analysis was performed at three levels: proximal to, at, and distal to the previous site of compression. In addition, correlations were investigated for the duration of symptoms and the body mass index (BMI) of the patient.


Intraneural changes were found consistently in all cases. There was no significant difference for the primary and secondary neurectomy groups. There was also no relation with the previous site of compression. There was a weak correlation between the occurrence of intraneural changes and the duration of symptoms, although this difference was not statistically significant.


Histopathological changes in this study were found in all patients with persistent symptoms of meralgia paresthetica regardless of a previously performed neurolysis procedure. This finding suggests that the intraneural changes that occur in persistent meralgia paresthetica are largely irreversible and support the surgical strategy of neurectomy as an alternative to neurolysis, also for primary surgical treatment and not only after failure of neurolysis.


Pathology Transection Neurolysis Decompression Entrapment 



The authors thank Maartje Kunen, medical artist, for the illustrations presented in Fig. 5.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (name of institute/committee) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. No ethical approval was required for the retrospective part of the study. For the STOMP trial, ethical approval was obtained before start of the study (Dutch trial registry: NTR4530).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHaaglanden Medical CenterThe Haguethe Netherlands
  2. 2.Landsteiner Institute, Haaglanden Medical CenterThe HagueThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of PathologyLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands

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