Genitofemoral neuralgia is one of the most common causes of pelvic and lower abdominal pain. This condition can arise when the genitofemoral nerve becomes damaged or compressed anywhere along its path. Injury to the nerve can be caused by direct blunt trauma, as well as during pelvic surgery or inguinal herniorrhaphy. It can also sustain damage as a result of disorders that affect the nervous system such as diabetes. Damage to this nerve rarely occurs spontaneously.
The Genitofemoral Nerve
The genitofemoral nerve arises from the first and second lumbar nerves, which originate in the lower region of the spine. This nerve passes over the psoas major and splits off into two branches which innervate the upper inner thigh and the genital regions.
Symptoms of Genitofemoral Neuralgia
The symptoms of genitofemoral neuralgia can manifest as a tingling sensation, burning pain or numbness over the lower abdomen, which can radiate into the inner thigh region. For men, these symptoms can also spread into the bottom of the scrotum and cremasteric muscles, and for women, the labia majora. Pain from genitofemoral nerve damage does not radiate below the knee. Symptoms can become more intense when the lumbar spine is extended, as this causes traction on the nerve. Some patients may also experience weakness in the abdominal wall.
How is Genitofemoral Neuralgia Treated?
Treatment of genitofemoral neuralgia may initially include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and avoidance of physical activities that worsen the symptoms of the condition, like sitting or squatting for long periods of time. However, genitofemoral neuralgia does not typically respond well to oral medications, and is most often treated using a minimally invasive technique known as a genitofemoral nerve block. This treatment provides pain relief by injecting anesthetic agents into the nerve itself, impeding the painful symptoms from being carried throughout the body.
During genitofemoral nerve block treatment, the patient is placed in a supine position with support under the knees. The treatment area is then prepared with antiseptic solution prior to the injection. Ultrasound technology allows for precise administration of the anesthetic solution into the nerve. Once the treatment is complete, pressure is maintained on the injection site to avoid ecchymosis and hematoma formation.
Most patients experience significant pain relief from their symptoms upon receiving a genitofemoral nerve block. However, if a patient does not experience relief from the genitofemoral nerve block, pulsed radiofrequency ablation can be utilized to remove the sensation for a longer period of time. Also, epidural steroid injections may be considered as an alternative treatment.
Learn More About Genitofemoral Nerve Block Treatment in Austin
Are you experiencing pain in the abdomen, groin or thigh region? You could be suffering from genitofemoral neuralgia. Austin pain physicians Dr. Robert S. Marks, Dr. Sauman A. Rafii, and Dr. Ivan N. Chew offer a variety of noninvasive treatment options to relieve pain from nerve damage, including genitofemoral nerve blocks and genitofemoral pulsed radiofrequency ablation. Please give our office a call today at (512) 981-7246 to request an appointment.