Sciatic Nerve Decompression

The sciatic nerve passes through the hip close to several structures and may become entrapped along its path producing pain and other symptoms. Compression of the sciatic nerve may occur due to scar tissue, the piriformis tendon, the hamstring tendon, vascular abnormalities, tumors, fractures or bony abnormalities. Entrapment can also occur due to decreased space between the femur (thigh bone) and the ischial tuberosity (a projection of the pelvic bone) through which the nerve passes.

Pain is usually one sided and aggravates when you flex or rotate your hip. Sensation in the lower extremity may be decreased or altered. You may limp or alter your posture to avoid pain.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure which allows your doctor to have a clear magnified view of the sciatic nerve as it passes through the hip joint and use instruments to decompress the nerve. For the procedure, you will lie on your back or side. Small incisions are made in the front and side of the hip through which portals are created to access the sciatic nerve. An arthroscope is passed through one of the portals. The sciatic nerve is identified and assessed for mobility and impingement. Other structures such as the piriformis and hamstring tendons are evaluated. Special instruments are passed through the portals and used to cut or remove tissue so that the sciatic nerve is decompressed.

Sciatic nerve decompression may occasionally be associated with certain complications most important of which is damage to the sciatic nerve which can affect lower extremity function.

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • International Society for Hip Arthroscopy
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America