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Pain. 2008 Oct 15;139(2):342-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Small fibre function in patients with meralgia paresthetica.

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  • 1Medical Sciences Post-Graduation Course, UFRGS School of Medicine, Porto Alegre, Brazil.



Patients with meralgia paresthetica (MP) usually experience not only paraesthesias and decreased tactile sensation, but also painful dysesthesias in the distribution of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). We aimed at assessing whether there is any functional impairment of small fibres of the LFCN in patients with MP.


We carried out a clinical, psychophysical and neurophysiological study in 14 patients with MP and 14 healthy control subjects. We assessed pain in the last 2months, thermal thresholds and small fibres conduction by using a visual analogue scale (VAS-pain), quantitative sensory testing (QST) and contact heat-evoked potentials (CHEPs), respectively. Data were grouped for control subjects, non-affected side and affected side of patients with MP.


Patients marked a VAS-pain of 4.3+/-1.5. In the affected side, thresholds for warm and heat pain sensations were elevated and the amplitude of CHEPs was reduced in comparison to the non-affected side and controls (Bonferroni's test; p<0.001 for all comparisons). The amplitude of CHEPs correlated inversely with duration of the symptoms (r=-0.57, p=0.002), as well as with heat pain thresholds (r=-0.18, p=0.01). No significant correlations were found between CHEPs and VAS-pain (p>0.05 for all correlations).


Besides the involvement of large myelinated fibres, partial loss of function in small fibres may also account for the painful symptoms of patients with MP, especially in those with longer disease duration.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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