Post-Surgical Inflammatory Neuropathy: An Underappreciated but Critical and Treatable Cause of Postoperative Neuropathy.

Academic Article


  • The diagnosis and management of postoperative nerve injury can be a challenging and frustrating proposition for the patient, surgeon, and anesthesia provider.¬†Unfortunately, in many cases, the true etiology is never elucidated and the injury is ascribed to positioning or a nerve block with "expectant management" being the order of the day, which can result in persistent disability for the patient. However, there is a rare subset of disorders affecting the nervous system that can masquerade as a peripheral nerve injury that warrants further investigation of risk factors and co-morbidities when other common causes of nerve injury are ruled out. We describe a patient with rheumatoid arthritis that underwent revision hip arthroplasty and presented almost immediately in the postoperative period with what was initially diagnosed as femoral nerve palsy. Further diagnostic workup later revealed that¬†she had suffered from postoperative inflammatory neuropathy resulting in lumbosacral plexus injury and not a discrete nerve injury. Had the true cause been identified early enough, treatment with corticosteroids could have been initiated in an attempt to mitigate and perhaps reverse the progress of the neuropathy. We present this cautionary tale to remind practitioners to continue to be vigilant and consider more esoteric and unconventional diagnoses in the workup of perioperative neuropathies.
  • Published In

  • Cureus  Journal
  • Keywords

  • inflammatory neuropathy, interfascial plane block, nerve conduction study, nerve injury, peri-operative, quadratus lumborum block, total hip arthroplasty
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Godlewski CA; Kalagara H; Vazquez Do Campo R; Northern T; Kukreja P
  • Start Page

  • e11927
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 12