Sciatic nerve sarcoidosis: utility of magnetic resonance peripheral nerve imaging and treatment with radiation therapy

J Neurosurg. 2004 May;100(5):956-9. doi: 10.3171/jns.2004.100.5.0956.


Sarcoidosis may involve both the central and peripheral nervous system, although peripheral nerve manifestations are usually seen late in the disease. In this report, the authors describe a case of sarcoidosis in a 22-year-old woman who presented with a foot drop. Although results of conventional lumbar magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were normal, MR peripheral nerve imaging of the thigh showed a mass in the sciatic nerve indicating tumor. An intraoperative biopsy sample revealed noncaseating granulomas consistent with sarcoid. The patient was treated with steroid drugs to control the manifestations of her disease but exhibited early signs of femoral bone necrosis, which required discontinuation of the steroids. She was then treated with local radiation therapy. At her 2-year follow-up visit the patient demonstrated relief of her symptoms and improvement on MR peripheral nerve imaging. This case demonstrates that sarcoidosis may present with peripheral nerve manifestations. The appearance of a diffusely swollen nerve on MR imaging should prompt clinicians to include sarcoidosis in the differential diagnosis and plan surgery accordingly. Patients who are not responsive to or who are unable to tolerate medical therapy may be treated with radiation therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Sarcoidosis / diagnosis
  • Sarcoidosis / radiotherapy*
  • Sciatic Nerve / pathology
  • Sciatic Neuropathy / diagnosis
  • Sciatic Neuropathy / radiotherapy*