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Injury to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve during minimally invasive hip surgery: A cadaver study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon Jameson, Dr Daniel Howcroft, Professor Andrew McCaskie, Craig Gerrand


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Introduction: A smaller skin incision as part of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for total hip arthroplasty (THA) is thought to reduce local tissue trauma. Preservation of cutaneous nerves may reduce postoperative pain and improve rehabilitation. The standard lateral approach (SLA) and two MIS approaches (anterolateral [ALA] and posterior [PA]) were compared to determine which incision preserved cutaneous nerves. Patients and methods: Fifteen cadaveric hip specimens were dissected to establish the course of branches of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. The number of branches divided by each of the three incisions was recorded. Results: The MIS incisions resulted in significantly less nerve division compared with the SLA. The mean difference between the SLA and the ALA was 4.4 (P < 0.0001), and between the SLA and the PA was 1.4 (P = 0.0005). The ALA divided significantly fewer nerves compared with the PA (mean difference = 3; P = 0.0001). Conclusions: There is little evidence of the benefit of one MIS approach over another in the literature. The ALA preserved significantly more cutaneous nerves in this study. These results need corroboration with clinical outcomes to determine their significance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jameson SS, Howcroft DWJ, McCaskie AW, Gerrand CH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

Year: 2008

Volume: 90

Issue: 3

Pages: 216-220

ISSN (print): 0035-8843

ISSN (electronic): 1478-7083

Publisher: Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd.


DOI: 10.1308/003588408X261618

PubMed id: 18430336


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