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Meralgia Paresthetica


  • Meralgia paresthetica (MP) is a problem with the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). It is also known as Bernhardt-Roth syndrome or femoral cutaneous nerve syndrome. A nerve is a pathway that carries messages to and from your brain. Your LFCN gives feeling to the front and outer sides of your thighs. The nerve follows a path that begins at your lower back, and goes through your pelvis. It attaches to your groin ligament and the muscles in each of your thighs (upper legs). When this nerve is squeezed, swollen, or damaged, it causes pain or numbness (loss of feeling) in your thigh. You may have pain or numbness in one or both of your thighs.
  • You may get MP if you have certain medical conditions, take certain medicines, or wear tight clothing. You may also get MP if you have had surgery, or your hip or thigh has been injured. Your caregiver will ask about your symptoms and ask you how long you have had them. You may need blood tests, nerve stimulation tests, and x-rays of your abdomen, hip, or leg. You may need a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or an ultrasound. MP may go away without treatment after a few weeks or months. Treatment may include physical therapy, medicine, or rarely, surgery. If you need treatment for meralgia paresthetica, it can make your pain or numbness decrease or go away.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


Medicines to treat meralgia paresthetica may take weeks or months to decrease your signs or symptoms. If you have surgery, you may bleed too much, or get an infection. Surgery may cause the area where your thigh nerve is cut to lose feeling for the rest of your life. Treatments may only work for a short time, and then your pain or numbness may come back again. If you need treatment and do not have it, your pain or numbness may not go away, or it may get worse. Call your caregiver if you have concerns or questions about your condition, treatment, or care.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Electromyography: This is also called an EMG. An EMG is done to test the function of your muscles and the nerves that control them. Electrodes (wires) are placed on the area of muscle being tested. Needles that enter your skin may be attached to the electrodes. The electrical activity of your muscles and nerves is measured by a machine attached to the electrodes. Your muscles are tested at rest and with activity.
  • Nerve conduction study: This test measures the electrical activity of your nerves.
  • Imaging tests: Certain tests use a special dye to help pictures show up better. People who are allergic to iodine or shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp) may be allergic to some dyes. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to shellfish.
    • Computed tomography scan: This is also called a CT scan. An x-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of your back and leg. It may be used to look at your bones, tissue, and blood vessels.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging: This test is also called an MRI. During the MRI, pictures are taken of your back, hip area, or leg. An MRI may be used to look at your muscles or blood vessels.
    • Abdominal ultrasound: This test is done so caregivers can see the tissues and organs of your abdomen. Gel will be put on your abdomen and a small sensor will be moved across your abdomen. The sensor uses sound waves to send pictures of your abdomen to a TV-like screen.
    • X-rays: You may need x-rays to check the organs inside your abdomen. Caregivers use these pictures to look for intestine (bowel) problems, kidney stones, or growths. Caregivers may also take x-rays of your hip and leg.

Treatment options:

  • Medicines: You may be given the following medicines:
    • Anesthesia: This medicine helps take away or decrease your pain for a short time. It may be applied on your skin as a patch or given as a shot into your skin. When given as a shot, it is put into your thigh's front, outer side to numb the area. Steroid medicine may also be injected at the same time to decrease pain and swelling.
    • Antiarrhythmics: This medicine is usually used to keep your heart beating normally. It may also help decrease pain.
    • Anticonvulsants: This medicine is usually used to decrease seizures (convulsions) but may also be used to decrease pain.
    • Antidepressants: This medicine is usually used to decrease depression (deep sadness). It may also be used to decrease pain.
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: This family of medicine is also called NSAIDs. This medicine may help decrease pain. This medicine can increase the risk of bleeding, stomach ulcers, or kidney problems in some people.
  • Moist heat therapy: Moist heat that is placed on your upper outer thigh may help decrease pain or numbness.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: This is also called TENS. A special device is used to send mild signals from the nerves going to your brain. These signals may help decrease your pain when used over a painful body part.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist may help you with special exercises. These exercises may help strengthen your leg muscles, or make you feel relaxed.
  • Pulsed radiofrequency: This device delivers very mild electrical signals to your nerve. This acts to block nerve pain, and increase your body's ability to fight pain. Ask your caregiver for more information about this device.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be done if your symptoms are bad, and other treatments have not worked. Your caregiver may do surgery to relieve the pressure on your thigh nerve. He may cut the tissue around your nerve or remove your nerve. Ask your caregiver for more information about surgery to treat MP.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Meralgia Paresthetica (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

Mayo Clinic Reference