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June 6, 1977

Meralgia Paresthetica: Unusual Complication of Inguinal Herniorrhaphy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Anesthesiology (Drs Rao, Kim, and Lee) and the Division of Respiratory Therapy (Dr Mathrubhutham), Cook County Hospital, Chicago.

JAMA. 1977;237(23):2525. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270500077034

IN 1895, Bernhardt described a curious condition marked by paresthesia on the anterior and lateral surface of the thigh which became painful on applying pressure over the abnormally sensitive area. In the same year, Roth gave the disease its formidable title "meralgia paresthetica," from the Greek words meros (thigh) and algos (pain). Reviews1,2 on meralgia paresthetica listed various medical and surgical conditions as causative factors, but so far no case has been reported where meralgia paresthetica occurred following inguinal herniorrhaphy. We report a case of meralgia paresthetica following inguinal herniorrhaphy and review the cause, symptoms, and treatment of the condition.

Report of a Case  A 56-year-old woman weighing 59 kg entered the hospital for an elective left indirect inguinal herniorrhaphy. Anesthesia consisted of a subarachnoid block, performed atraumatically at the L4-5 level with a 22-gauge spinal needle and 2 ml of 0.5% hyperbaric tetracaine hydrochloride. After a sensory level