When talking to women who are suffering the consequences after pelvic mesh implant surgery, the obturator nerve is one of the most common injuries they describe because transobturator tapes (slings) cause mesh trouble. Your obturator nerve begins at your psoas major muscle, travels through your obturator foramen (an opening in the pelvic bone) and then enters your thigh, where it divides into two branches, anterior and posterior.
Signs & Symptoms
• Pain localized to medial thigh radiating to groin or knee
• Pain exacerbated with activity
• Adductor weakness
• Paresthesia over medial aspect of distal thigh
• Loss of adductor tendon reflex with preservation of other lower extremity reflexes
• Positive EMG (electromyogram) and nerve conduction tests.
Damage to this nerve can be felt as pain, numbness your skin on the inside of your thighs and weakness of your thighs. This injury can affect the workings of you hip and knee joints and your abductor muscles and gracilis muscle which move the thighs when they close.
Your obturator nerve can be damaged through injury to your nerve itself, but also when the surrounding tissue is injured, causing swelling and inflammation which constricts blood flow inside the nerve itself.
Treatment: Mild damage to your obturator nerve can be treated with physical therapy, including stretching, deep tissue massage, and ultrasound. Medication for pain and anti-inflammatory drugs may help. More severe cases may require surgery to release the anterior division through the obturator canal.
Peggy Day is working on a book to combine all these stories. This is an excerpt from Pelvis in Flames: Your Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Your input is welcome to help make Pelvis in Flames the book you need to read.
If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, join my group, Surgical Mesh or check the list of support groups here.
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