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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2005 Nov;87(11):1465-7.

Sciatic nerve palsy secondary to postoperative haematoma in primary total hip replacement.

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Kilcreen Regional Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilcreen, County Kilkenny, Ireland.


Sciatic nerve palsy is a recognised complication of primary total hip replacement. In our unit this complication was rare with an incidence of < 0.2% in the past ten years. We describe six cases of sciatic nerve palsy occurring in 355 consecutive primary total hip replacements (incidence 1.69%). Each of these palsies was caused by post-operative haematoma in the region of the sciatic nerve. Cases, which were recognised early and surgically-evacuated promptly, showed earlier and more complete recovery. Those patients for whom the diagnosis was delayed, and who were therefore managed expectantly, showed little or no recovery. Unexpected pain and significant swelling in the buttock, as well as signs of sciatic nerve irritation, suggest the presence of haematoma in the region of the sciatic nerve. It is, therefore, of prime importance to be vigilant for the features of a sciatic nerve palsy in the early post-operative period as, when recognised and treated early, the injury to the sciatic nerve may be reversed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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