Nerve damage after hip surgery ‘due to inflammation’

8 May 2014

The nerve damage experienced after some hip surgeries could be due to inflammation rather than mechanical factors, suggests a new study from the Mayo Clinic.

Historically, this damage has been attributed to actions taken by anesthesiologists and surgeons, such as the positioning of the patient during the procedure or direct injury to the nerves.

However, researchers now believe inflammatory neuropathy could be the cause of nerve damage in some patients who have undergone hip surgery.

Researchers carried out a retrospective study on patients who had developed pain and weakness in a limb after undergoing hip surgery and there was no recorded direct or traction injury during the procedure.

A nerve biopsy revealed all patients were experiencing inflammatory neuropathy, which caused them to experience numbness, tingling, pain and weakness that started in the feet and moved upwards.

Nathan Staff, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, commented: "We know new or worsened weakness after hip surgery can be attributed to surgical factors, such as stretching, compression, contusion, hematoma or even transection of the nerve. 

“But now we know that this weakness may be attributed to an inflammatory issue, and it's important that physicians look for this cause, too."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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