What is Inguinal Neuralgia?
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The nerves in this area of the body originate from the uppermost part of the lumbar plexus, a network of merging spinal nerves that exits either side of the spine in the low back. These nerves are the most substantial of the inguinal region, and the most likely to sustain inadvertent injury with hernia surgeries and other types of abdominopelvic procedures.
The lowest of these three nerves runs through a muscle located on either side of the spine in the low back. It then forms two branches — the first division is the femoral branch, which innervates the upper part of the femoral triangle in the upper thigh, and the second division is the genital branch. In males, the genital branch affects the area of the scrotum. In females, the genital branch supplies the skin of the mons pubis and labia majora.
Causes of Inguinal NeuralgiaThe most common reason these three nerves become dysfunctional is unintentional damage during hernia repair surgery. Entrapment of these nerves by post-surgical scar tissue is another way that inguinal neuralgia may develop after this type of surgery.
Treatment for Inguinal NeuralgiaNerve blocks are an effective way to diagnose and treat inguinal neuralgia. A nerve block is a mixture of medications — usually anesthetics and corticosteroids — injected onto a nerve suspected of causing the patient’s pain. The extent and duration of pain relief provided by the block vary from patient to patient.
Successful reduction in pain following a nerve block also helps the physician develop the patient’s future course of treatment. Since the effects of nerve blocks are impermanent, future nerve blocks may be prescribed to maintain the patient’s pain relief over time. Alternatively, procedures that provide longer-lasting pain control, such as radiofrequency ablation, may be of benefit to the patient when the initial block wears-off.