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June 1957

Meralgia Paresthetica

Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1957;77(6):557-574. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1957.02330360015001

The symptoms of meralgia paresthetica are pain, numbness, itching, or other dysesthesias occurring in the distribution of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, that is, over the anterolateral aspect of the thigh, usually in an elliptical patch and usually unilateral. In this area perception of pinprick and touch often is diminished or lost. There is no motor disturbance; the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is entirely sensory.

Many writers are patently incorrect in describing this condition as rare. Other inconsistencies and contradictions in the literature are regularly found, particularly in regard to age of onset, predilection for one sex, course, prognosis, and treatment. The literature on the etiology of meralgia paresthetica is particularly obfuscating. The multiplicity of ascribed causes, often asserted with strong conviction, further signalizes the need for accumulation and clarification of data on this common affliction.

This syndrome often is diagnosed incorrectly and misconstrued by the patient