Endoscopic Sciatic Neurolysis

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Despite remaining a controversial diagnosis, piriformis syndrome continues to affect patients' quality of life with pain, sitting discomfort, and exercise intolerance. Open sciatic neurolysis has been noted by the senior author to often only bring temporary relief of the symptoms, with the recurrence presumably due to postoperative scar tissue. Minimally invasive techniques used to decompress the nerve have met with mixed results. This article describes a step-by-step surgical technique designed to maximize patient safety, as well as surgeon orientation, and achieve a thorough neurolysis. Preoperative findings suggestive of piriformis syndrome are described and include retro-trochanteric pain, sciatica-like leg pain, and paresthesias, as well as a positive response to computed tomography-guided injection of dilute ropivacaine hydrochloride and 40 mg of triamcinolone. The operation is performed with the patient in the lateral decubitus position through 2 portals 6 to 8 cm apart, allowing for good triangulation. Dissection is undertaken with a combination of radiofrequency and a laparoscopic peanut, with the assistance of a vascular sling to control the sciatic nerve. Encouraging results have been achieved, and with increasing interest in this procedure, a step-by-step technical description with an accompanying video may prove useful for other experienced hip arthroscopists. Pearls and pitfalls are discussed.




Knudsen, J. S., McConkey, M. O., & Brick, M. J. (2015). Endoscopic Sciatic Neurolysis. Arthroscopy Techniques, 4(4), e353–e358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eats.2015.03.010

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