Friday, February 1, 2013

Traction Weight during Arthroscopic Surgery Linked to Sciatic Nerve Damage

An article in the Journal of Joint and Bone Surgery (2012, volume 94, issue 22) presented results from a study performed among 60 patients. Using nerve monitoring during surgery, the researchers studied prevalence, pattern, and predisposing factors for sciatic nerve traction injury during hip arthroscopy. Wow! A majority of patients, 58 percent, had nerve injury during the surgery and 7 percent ended up with a nerve injury after the surgery. 

The results showed that traction weight was a factor in the nerve damage.
The monitoring measured changes in the nerve response in the posterior tibial and common peroneal nerves. Traction times and weight were continuously monitored. The odds of a nerve event increased 4 percent with every 0.45-kg (1-lb) increase in the traction amount.
An increase in traction time did not increase the odds of a nerve event. Age and sex were not significant risk factors.

The study did not identify a specific threshold of traction weight or traction time that increased the odds of nerve dysfunction, but concluded that surgeons should attempt to minimize traction weight and time during hip arthroscopy.

Tip for hipsters: if you are facing surgery, discuss the factor of traction weight with your surgeon prior to surgery!

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