Skin biopsy in assessing meralgia paresthetica

Arada Wongmek, Susan Shin, Lan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction: Meralgia paresthetica is a focal neuropathy caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). The disease can be difficult to assess by neurophysiological or imaging studies. Methods: We studied 5 patients who presented to our neuromuscular clinic from April 2012 to December 2014 with a clinical suspicion of meralgia paresthetica and had skin biopsies with intraepidermal nerve fiber density (IENFD) evaluation. Results: The mean age at onset was 37.2 (range 21-59) years. There were 4 women and 1 man. Two were obese, 2 wore tight jeans, and 1 had mild diabetes mellitus. IENFD was reduced in the symptomatic proximal thigh in all 5 patients and was also reduced in the asymptomatic thigh in 2 patients. It was normal in the distal leg in 4 patients. Conclusion: Meralgia paresthetica is associated with loss of small intraepidermal nerve fibers. Skin biopsy with IENFD evaluation may be a useful diagnostic tool for this disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-643
Number of pages3
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Diagnosis
  • Intraepidermal nerve fiber density
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
  • Meralgia paresthetica
  • Skin biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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