Compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve typically occurs where it enters the leg near the inguinal ligament. It is usually unilateral, but up to 20% of patients can develop bilateral meralgia paresthetica. Most cases are idiopathic. Damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can also occur as a result of trauma or surgical procedures. Patients with diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, alcohol use disorder, leprosy, or a history of lead poisoning have a higher risk for developing meralgia paresthetica. This condition can be exacerbated in patients who wear tight-fitting pants, belts, or corsets, have had recent weight gain, or are pregnant.
Treatment often involves avoiding wearing tight-fitting clothing and losing weight, with resolution of symptoms, although some patients are left with permanent paresthesias in the affected area.
G57.10 – Meralgia paresthetica, unspecified lower limb
85007004 – Meralgia paresthetica
Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls