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Treatment of Meralgia Paresthetica with Ultrasound-Guided Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation of the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve


  • Disclosure: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ian M. Fowler, MD, LCDR, MC, USN, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Naval Medical Center, 620 John Paul Jones Circle, Portsmouth, VA 23708, U.S.A. E-mail:


Abstract:  A 23-year-old female with an 18-month history of left anterolateral thigh paresthesias and burning pain consistent with meralgia paresthetica was referred to our clinic after failing trials of physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, gabapentin, and amitriptyline. We performed 3 lateral femoral cutaneous nerve blocks with corticosteroid over a 4-month period; however, each block provided only temporary relief. As this pain was limiting the patient’s ability to perform her functions as an active duty service member, we elected to perform a pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve with ultrasound guidance and nerve stimulation. After locating the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve with ultrasound and reproducing the patient’s dysthesia with stimulation, pulsed radiofrequency treatment was performed at 42°C for 120 seconds. The needle was then rotated 180° and an additional cycle of pulsed radiofrequency treatment was performed followed by injection of 0.25% ropivacaine with 4 mg of dexamethasone. At 1.5 and 3 month follow-up visits, the patient reported excellent pain relief with activity and improved ability to perform her duties as an active duty service member. ▪