Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Intraoperative Positioning During Cesarean as a Cause of Sciatic Neuropathy

Roy, Sarmistha DO; Levine, Amy B. MD; Herbison, Gerald J. MD; Jacobs, Stanley R. MD

Case Reports

BACKGROUND Sciatic nerve compression has been well documented as a cause of perioperative sciatic neuropathy but rarely during cesarean.

CASE A parturient complained of left foot drop after cesarean delivery for twins performed under spinal anesthesia. Intraoperatively, her right hip was raised with padding under the right buttock to tilt the pelvis approximately 30 degrees to the left. Postoperatively, the patient had weakness, sensory changes, and diminished reflexes in the left lower extremity. Electrodiagnostic studies supported a diagnosis of neurapraxia and partial denervation in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. By postpartum week 6, she had full recovery.

CONCLUSION Elevating the right buttock during cesarean can cause compression of the underlying structures of the left buttock and result in sciatic neuropathy. Decreasing the duration of time the patient is in the left lateral position may reduce the risk of this uncommon but debilitating complication.

Lateral tilting of the pelvis during cesarean can compress the buttock and underlying structures and thereby result in injury to the sciatic nerve.

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical College of Pennsylvania-Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Address reprint requests to: Sarmistha Roy, DO, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 317 North Broad Street, Apt. 603, Philadelphia, PA 19107; E-mail:

Received April 5, 2001. Received in revised form September 28, 2001. Accepted October 9, 2001

© 2002 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists