In this study investigators tested the hypothesis that following hip arthroscopy, the number of patients who developed pudendal neuralgia would exceed 1%. Development of pudendal neuralgia symptoms following hip arthroscopy was assessed in 150 patients (female = 79, male = 71) who were operated on in one facility by a single surgeon. Indications for the surgery included post-trauma foreign-body, osteochondromatosis, and labral lesion resection. The Nantes criteria were utilized for diagnosis, which includes as "essential" criteria the following: pain in the region of the pudendal nerve; pain that is worsened by sitting, relieved by sitting on a toilet seat; pain does not interrupt sleep, pain with no objective sensory impairment and that is relieved by a pudendal nerve block.
The operated hip was placed in a position of 30 degrees of adduction, internal rotation and flexion. The hip was operated on with a single anterolateral approach in most cases, with a second anterolateral approach needed in eight cases. Study results include an incidence rate of 2% in the population of 150 patients. 3 of the patients (2 female, 1 male) were diagnosed with pudendal neuralgia presenting in all 3 as "pure sensory" with symptoms of perineal hypoesthesia and dysesthesia on the operated side. The 3 cases resolved spontaneously within 3 weeks to 6 months. Two cases of sciatica following hip arthroscopy were documented, and these cases resolved without intervention other than a short course of analgesics. The patients also presented with gluteus medius insertion tenderness.
Although the study also aimed to determine risk factors for development of pudendal neuralgia following hip scope, the small number of patients who developed symptoms made the analysis for risk factors difficult. The authors also point out that the one-way surgical technique (not the standard surgical technique) also may have created some bias in the study. In conclusion, although the cited study reported a low incidence of pudendal neuralgia onset following hip arthroscopy, larger numbers have appeared in the literature, and according to the authors, surgical risk factors for developing nerve complications following a hip scope include the amount of traction placed on the joint, the length of surgery, and appropriate pelvic support bilaterally. The take-home point for pelvic rehabilitation providers is that patients are at some risk for pelvic nerve dysfunction following hip arthroscopy, and we have a role in educating providers and in screening patients for such conditions.