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Sciatic Nerve Release Following Fracture or Reconstructive Surgery of the Acetabulum

Issack, Paul S. MD, PhD; Toro, Jose B. MD; Buly, Robert L. MD; Helfet, David L. MD

Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery - American Volume: July 2007 - Volume 89 - Issue 7 - p 1432–1437
doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00904
Scientific Articles
Supplementary Content

Background: Sciatic neuropathy associated with acetabular fractures can result in disabling long-term symptoms. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the effect of sciatic nerve release on sciatic neuropathy associated with acetabular fractures and reconstructive acetabular surgery.

Methods: Between 2000 and 2004, ten patients with sciatic neuropathy associated with an acetabular fracture were treated with release of the sciatic nerve from scar tissue and heterotopic bone. Additional surgical procedures included open reduction and internal fixation of the acetabulum (five patients), removal of hardware and total hip arthroplasty (three patients), and removal of hardware alone (one patient). The average age of the patients was forty-three years. All patients were followed with serial examinations and assessments for a minimum of one year (average, twenty-six months).

Results: All patients had partial to complete relief of radicular pain, of diminished sensation, and of paresthesias after the nerve release. Four of seven patients with motor loss and two of five patients with a footdrop demonstrated improvement in function after the nerve release. No patient had evidence of worsening on neurologic examination after the release.

Conclusions: Sciatic nerve release during reconstructive acetabular surgery can decrease the sensory symptoms of preoperative sciatic neuropathy associated with a previous acetabular fracture. Motor symptoms, however, are less likely to resolve following nerve release.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

1 The Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021. E-mail address for P.S. Issack:

Copyright 2007 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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