Lower limb paralysis from ischaemic neuropathy of the lumbosacral plexus following aorto-iliac procedures

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2007 Aug;6(4):501-2. doi: 10.1510/icvts.2007.151993. Epub 2007 Apr 17.


Objectives: Neurological injuries following aorto-iliac procedures are rare, unpredictable and cause significant morbidity. We report four cases of lower limb paralysis following aorto-iliac procedures, in which two patients suffered internal iliac occlusion and discuss potential aetiological factors.

Methods: Four male patients, age ranging between 56 and 77 years, underwent aorto-iliac procedures. Three patients underwent repair of infra-renal abdominal aortic aneurysm (2 open and 1 endovascular repair) and one patient had percutaneous angioplasty of the internal iliac artery.

Results: All patients developed a unilateral lower limb paralysis early post procedure. Neurophysiological studies were performed in three patients and confirmed the injury to the lumbosacral plexus in two cases. MRI scan performed in two patients did not show any abnormality. In two of the cases, occlusion of one internal iliac artery was implicated as the cause of lumbo-sacral plexopathy: one with the coverage of the internal artery origin with the stent, the other due to thrombotic occlusion of common and internal iliac in arteries after an elective open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm with a bifurcated graft. Follow up ranged between 2 and 4 months. Only one patient recovered completely; the other three were left with permanent disability.

Conclusions: Ischaemic neuropathy following aorto-iliac intervention, whether open or endovascular, remains a rare, unpredictable and devastating complication. When it occurs it is likely to result in permanent neurological disability. It is important to note that it may be related to internal iliac artery thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aorta, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery
  • Humans
  • Iliac Artery / surgery*
  • Ischemia / complications*
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / blood supply*
  • Lumbosacral Plexus / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / adverse effects