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Femoral Nerve Injury During Hysterectomy

Femoral Nerve Injury During Hysterectomy

If you have suffered a femoral nerve injury during a hysterectomy, you could be the innocent victim of surgical error. This means you would be entitled to claim compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.

How common is femoral nerve injury at hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a serious procedure that carries many risks. A patient should be informed of these before signing a consent form. However, a femoral nerve injury is not normally cited on the consent form when a patient is being treated for benign conditions, such as heavy periods.

Nevertheless, there is a small risk of femoral nerve injury, particularly during an abdominal hysterectomy. One study published in 1982 estimated there was an 11.6% of femoral nerve injury at hysterectomy, although more recent studies have found the risk to be considerably less. A review published in 2013 suggests damage to the peripheral nerve system during pelvic surgery has a rate of 0.2-2%.

How does a femoral nerve injury happen?

A femoral nerve injury during a hysterectomy can happen in a number of ways, including:-

  • It is stretched due to the inappropriate positioning of a patient pre-operatively;
  • It is directly injured during surgical dissection;
  • It is directly injured due to a long surgical incision, or a grossly asymmetrical incision;
  • It suffers physical trauma resulting from prolonged compression by retractor blades

The most common cause of femoral nerve injury during a hysterectomy is from compression. This will usually occur due to retractor blades, especially those with deep blades.

Retractors blades are a surgical instrument which keeps the surgical incision open, holding back the tissue and organs and aiding exposure.

Is a femoral nerve injury negligent?

Every case is different and a femoral nerve injury will not always amount to negligence. However, there are times when the injury happens as the direct result of medical error.

For example, there may be a case of medical negligence if a femoral nerve injury arises because:-

  • Long retractor blades are used, even though the patient has a low BMI;
  • The incision is longer than average (12cm) without justification;
  • The incision is grossly asymmetrical (long on one side);
  • The operating time is longer than average, without justification.

If the care provided fell below the standards accepted as proper by a responsible body of Gynaecologists, there will be a case of medical negligence. A solicitor will be able to advise you further, suggesting whether or not you could be entitled to claim compensation.

If you have sustained a femoral nerve injury during a hysterectomy, contact us today to discuss your options.

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