Objective: Femoral neuropathy is a rare but disabling complication following renal transplantation and pelvic surgery in general. In a retrospective review, we analyzed the incidence, clinical presentation, and outcome of this complication after renal transplantation in our center. In addition, we conducted a literature search on this complication.
Materials and methods: Five cases of isolated femoral neuropathy after renal transplantation were encountered at our center, out of 3,448 renal transplantations performed over a 47-year period.
Results: All of these patients presented with a weakness of hip flexion (iliopsoas muscle) and knee extension (quadriceps muscle) starting immediately after surgery. Atrophy of the quadriceps became apparent in severe and prolonged cases. In addition, numbness and paresthesia located in the anteromedial part of the thigh were present in 3 patients.
Conclusion: Isolated neuropathy of the femoral nerve is a rare but disabling complication after renal transplantation. The etiology of isolated femoral neuropathy often results from direct compression of the femoral nerve or from indirect compression on the psoas muscle by application of self-retaining retractors placed during pelvic surgery. Other factors that can play a role in the pathogenesis are related to direct ischemia of the nerve by clamping of the iliac artery, thus interrupting the pelvic blood supply to the femoral nerve during the vascular anastomosis or vessel dissection, or by postoperative hematoma in the retroperitoneum or psoas muscle. Meticulous surgery and careful positioning of the self-retaining retractors during surgery are pivotal to avoid this complication which transplant surgeons should be aware of.
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