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Nerve injury associated with pelvic surgery

Jermaine E Gray, MD
Section Editors
William J Mann, Jr, MD
Hilary Sanfey, MD
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Neural injury can be an unexpected and distressing complication of an otherwise successful operation. Pain, paresthesias, loss of sensation, and weakness are the most common symptoms.

The most common causes of nerve injury during pelvic surgery are:

Transection from incision, trocar insertion, or thermal injury from electrosurgical devices

Entrapment from ligation for control of bleeding, tissue reapproximation (eg, closure of retroperitoneum), or reconstructive pelvic surgery (eg, vaginal or bladder suspension procedures)

Compression or stretching of the nerve from patient positioning, retractors, clamps, or hematoma

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 21, 2017.
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