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Ultrasound-Guided Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Block for Meralgia Paresthetica

Section Editor(s): Saidman, LawrenceTumber, Paul S. MD, FRCPC; Bhatia, Anuj FRCA, MD; Chan, Vincent W. MD, FRCPC

doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3181632487
Letters to the Editor: Letters & Announcements

Department of Anesthesiology; Toronto Western Hospital; University Health Network; 399 Bathurst St.; Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

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To the Editor:

The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) is a purely sensory nerve derived from the second and third lumbar roots and innervates the skin of the upper and outer thigh. Blockade of the LFCN may be attempted for treating cases of meralgia paresthetica when patients do not respond to oral medications or conservative measures.1

A 57-yr-old woman with obesity, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and essential hypertension presented with a 10-mo history of burning pain in the lateral area of her left thigh that developed after a decompressive laminectomy for central spinal canal stenosis at L4–5, L5–S1 level. Examination of her thigh revealed hypoesthesia and a complaint of dysesthesia when touching the skin over the left lateral thigh. She consented to a trial of a LFCN block with local anesthetic and steroid. Ultrasonography (SonoSiteMicroMaxx®, SonoSite Inc., Bothell, WA) was used to identify the active site-inhibited factor VIIa (ASIS). With the ultrasound probe (6–13 MHz) scanning transversely inferior to the ASIS, the sartorius muscle was identified. The LFCN is superficial to the sartorius in a tissue plane deep to the fascia lata but superficial to the fascia iliaca (Fig. 1A). A 22-gauge (2.5 inch) Braun Stimuplex needle was inserted in-line with the ultrasound probe and the location of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve confirmed as the patient experienced a reproducible paresthesia at a level of 1 mA current at 1 HZ frequency of stimulation. A test dose of 1 mL did not increase any pain. The injectate was continually visualized by ultrasound (Fig. 1B) as it spread around the nerve circumferentially and in a cephalad manner, and a total volume of 10 mL was injected (9 mL of bupivacaine 0.25% with 1:200,000 epinephrine along with 40 mg of methylprednisolone). The patient reported a 50% reduction in pain intensity as well as numbness in the distribution of the LFCN, lasting for 72 h. A repeat nerve block was performed 3 wk later using 5 mL of bupivacaine 0.25% with 1:200,000 epinephrine along with 20 mg of methylprednisolone was injected. The patient developed numbness of the left lateral thigh lasting 24 h, but her pain relief was rated as greater than 50% reduction in pain at her last follow up 8 wk after injection. She is now able to walk without support.

Figure 1

Figure 1

In conclusion, the LFCN may be identified, deposition of the local anesthetic around the nerve can be visualized, and intraneural injection can be avoided in a situation in which there is preexisting nerve dysfunction.2

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The authors thank Sherif Abbas for his help in preparation of the manuscript.

Paul S. Tumber, MD, FRCPC

Anuj Bhatia, FRCA, MD

Vincent W. Chan, MD, FRCPC

Department of Anesthesiology

Toronto Western Hospital

University Health Network

399 Bathurst St.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1. Grossman MG, Ducey SA, Nadler SS, Levy AS. Meralgia paresthetica: diagnosis and treatment. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2001;9:336–4
2. Assmann N, McCartney CJ, Tumber PS, Chan VW. Ultrasound guidance for brachial plexus localization and catheter insertion after complete forearm amputation. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2007;32:93
© 2008 International Anesthesia Research Society