Refractory Meralgia Paraesthetica: Pulsed Radiofrequency or Surgery?

Refractory Meralgia Paraesthetica: Pulsed Radiofrequency or Surgery?

Meralgia paraesthetica is a painful condition that affects the outer thigh, which may be the result of a trauma or injury or can even be caused by being pregnant or overweight. Usually meralgia paraesthetica can be treated using painkillers, rest and physiotherapy or any combination thereof. Sometimes a nerve block test for diagnostic purposes is required to ensure that the offending nerves are identified and then steroid injections can be used as a nerve block which stops the nerves sending pain signals to the brain.

However, some patients can still find that their pain levels were quite high and that they do not respond well to this treatment. Consequently they may be referred for surgery.

Surgery Versus Pulsed Radiofrequency

Whilst surgery has never been safer and indeed, becomes safer all the time, there is no surgery that is without risk. These risks are relatively low, but still exist. Moreover there are some people who are unable to have surgery or for whom surgery carries greater risks.

People With Secondary Medical Conditions

People who have other medical conditions may not be able to undergo surgery. For others surgery may be possible but may carry with it significant risks of complications.

People Who Are Overweight

People who are overweight may be prone to meralgia paraesthetica but when they develop this condition it is even more difficult for them to lose weight. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that it is not an easy process but when moving is difficult due to the pain from meralgia paraesthetica, it is even more difficult to lose weight.

The pain from moving can also mean that it is more tempting to sit and rest, boredom can soon set in and eating more simply out of boredom can soon result. Then the issue of weight management becomes even more difficult. Whilst surgery may well be possible for people who are overweight, it is always preferable for people undergoing surgery to be within certain weight limits.

Pulsed Radiofrequency Benefits

The benefits of pulsed radiofrequency where the nerves that are causing the pain are gently heated and then ‘re-trained’ so that they no longer signal pain to the brain are significant especially for people who are overweight or who are unable to undergo surgery due to other serious medical conditions. The pulsed radiofrequency is not invasive, so it can be performed on people who are either ill with other conditions or who are overweight.

Due to its non-invasive nature, pulsed radiofrequency also means that the recovery time is very fast; there is very little time required for the body to heal. This can be ideal for people who lead very hectic lives and for whom it is difficult to schedule surgery in because it involves time off work.

So there are times when pulsed radiofrequncy really offers a much more attractive option to surgery. Surgery is safe, but it is not always safe for everyone all the time, but the risks associated with pulsed radiofrequency are minimal.