Meralgia paresthetica: diagnosis and management strategies

Pain Med. Nov-Dec 2007;8(8):669-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2006.00227.x.


Meralgia paresthetica (MP), coined from the Greek words meros (thigh and algos), meaning pain, is a neurological disorder characterized by a localized area of paresthesia and numbness on the anterolateral aspect of the thigh. The incidence of MP is more common than often reported in the literature. The etiology of MP includes mechanical factors such as obesity, pregnancy, and other conditions associated with increased intrabdominal pressure, surgery of the spine, and pelvic osteotomy. A coherent history and pertinent physical examination is essential in making the diagnosis; however, red flags such as tumor and lumbar disk herniations must be recognized and appropriately treated. While the diagnosis of MP is essentially a clinical diagnosis, sensory nerve conduction velocity studies are a useful adjunctive diagnostic tool. The management of MP includes treating the underlying cause (if any) and conservative management. Surgery should only be adopted when all nonoperative therapies have failed to manage the condition in an effective manner.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Paresthesia / diagnosis*
  • Paresthesia / epidemiology
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Paresthesia / physiopathology
  • Paresthesia / surgery
  • Paresthesia / therapy*