Nerve injury in lower limb vascular surgery

M R Moawad, Y A Masannat, A Alhamdani, C P Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Nerve injury is one of the most common complications of varicose vein surgery and is a frequent cause for litigation but its incidence following lower limb arterial surgery has not been well documented. This study was undertaken to determine the incidence of nerve injury following lower limb arterial surgery. This was addressed in relation to long saphenous or femoral vein harvesting, or re-operative surgery.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of one hundred patients who had undergone lower limb arterial reconstruction in the previous five years were invited to participate in this study. Seventy-eight patients responded, of which 44 patients (66 operated legs) agreed to participate. They underwent neurological assessment of the lower limbs.

RESULTS: 66.7% of limbs had objective evidence of sensory deficit following lower limb arterial surgery but none had motor deficit. Redo surgery or superficial femoral vein harvest had no influence on the incidence of nerve injury. Below knee incisions had a higher incidence of nerve injury than other approaches. Long saphenous vein harvest significantly increased the rate of nerve injury.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a high incidence of sensory nerve damage following lower limb arterial surgery. In the present climate of increasing litigation it is important to know the likely incidence of post-operative nerve damage so that patients can be counselled appropriately during the process of obtaining informed consent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-5
Number of pages4
JournalThe Surgeon
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery/surgery
  • Femoral Nerve/injuries
  • Femoral Vein/surgery
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity/blood supply
  • Lumbosacral Plexus/injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obturator Nerve/injuries
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases/surgery
  • Peroneal Nerve/injuries
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures/methods
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Saphenous Vein/surgery
  • Sensation Disorders/etiology
  • Sural Nerve/injuries
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting


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