Neurosurgical treatment of leprosy neuropathy in a low-incidence, European country

Alberto Balestrino, Pietro Fiaschi, Niccolò Riccardi, Marco Camera, Pasquale Anania, Carlo Martinoli, Sergio Gennaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

© 2019, Fondazione Società Italiana di Neurologia. Introduction: Leprosy is nowaday increasingly encountered in non-endemic countries. Nerve involvement is common. Swelling of the nerves may lead to entrapment neuropathy causing pain and neurological deficits. Delay in diagnosis and treatment may lead to loss of chance of improvement. Surgical decompression in conjunction with medical therapy allows relief of symptoms. Methods: We present a retrospective series of 21 patients surgically treated in our center for leprosy entrapment neuropathy. We report presentation, treatment, and outcome at follow-up including a brief literature review. Results: Twenty-one patients were treated for nerve entrapments in four different anatomical districts. We reported good clinical outcomes mainly in motor deficits but also in improvement of sensitive deficits and pain symptoms. We did not experience surgical complications. Discussion: Although there is a lack of high-quality prospective studies comparing medical and surgical treatment of leprosy neuropathy, benefits of surgery are widely reported in series and case reports from endemic countries. There is scant literature from low-incidence countries even if leprosy incidence is nowaday increasing in these countries and will likelihood further increase in the future. Our results are in line with the literature presenting good outcomes after surgery. Conclusion: We believe that a precise knowledge of the pathology and its management is crucial also for physicians who work in low-incidence countries to maximize healing chances with timely diagnosis and treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1375
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Sciences
Volume40
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019

Keywords

  • Entrapment neuropathy
  • Epineurotomy
  • Leprosy
  • Neurolysis endoneural abscess
  • Surgical decompression

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