Peripheral nerve injection injury with steroid agents

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1982 Mar;69(3):482-90. doi: 10.1097/00006534-198203000-00014.


The possible neurotoxic effects of five commonly used steroid agents were examined. Using histologic studies and studies of the microneural circulation, it was found the steroids can indeed cause neurotoxicity. The injection site was critical in effecting injury. Only intrafascicular injection caused damage. The damage produced varied with the agent used. Dexamethasone (Decadron) caused minimal damage, while hydrocortisone (Solu-Cortef) and triamcinolone hexacetonide (Aristospan) caused widespread axonal and myelin degeneration. Disturbance in the blood-nerve barrier correlated with the changes noted on light and electron microscopy, but is thought to be coincidentally and not causally related. In conclusion, it was shown that the intrafascicular injection of commonly used steroid agents had a direct toxic effect on peripheral nerve-fibers and caused a disruption of the blood-nerve barrier. Use of the more toxic agents in the vicinity of peripheral nerves should probably be avoided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dexamethasone / toxicity
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / toxicity
  • Hydrocortisone / toxicity
  • Injections
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / toxicity
  • Peripheral Nerves / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sciatic Nerve / drug effects
  • Sciatic Nerve / pathology
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Steroids / toxicity*
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / analogs & derivatives
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide / toxicity


  • Steroids
  • Dexamethasone
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide
  • triamcinolone hexacetonide
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisolone