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Common Peroneal Nerve Palsy Following Total Hip Arthroplasty: Prognostic Factors for Recovery
Jai Hyung Park, MD, PhD1; Bryan Hozack, BA1; Peter Kim, BS1; Robert Norton, MD1; Steven Mandel, MD1; Camilo Restrepo, MD1; Javad Parvizi, MD, FRCS1
1 Rothman Institute Orthopaedics (J.H.P., B.H., P.K., R.N., C.R., J.P.) and Department of Neurology (S.M.), Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 925 Chestnut Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. E-mail address for J. Parvizi: research@rothmaninstitute.com
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Investigation performed at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. One or more of the authors, or his or her institution, has had a financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with an entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. No author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 May 01;95(9):e55 1-5. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00160
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Common peroneal nerve palsy, although rare, is a serious complication of total hip arthroplasty. Although several publications have dealt with the risk factors for peroneal nerve palsy, there is little literature regarding the time it takes for the nerve to recover and the factors that influence its recovery. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the clinical course of this injury and identify prognostic factors for recovery.


From January 2000 to December 2007, 7969 primary and 1601 revision total hip arthroplasties were performed at our institution. Common peroneal nerve palsy developed following thirty-one (0.32%) of these procedures. Thirty of these patients were evaluated by a neurologist at the time of diagnosis and at regular intervals thereafter. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors and prognostic factors for recovery.


On average, patients who developed common peroneal nerve palsy were significantly younger (fifty-six years) than those who did not develop palsy (sixty-three years, p < 0.05). Higher body mass index (BMI) was a negative prognostic factor for recovery from palsy (p < 0.05). The palsy was incomplete in twenty-five of the thirty patients, and fourteen of these recovered fully at a mean of 10.3 months (range, 1.0 to 50.0 months). Three of the five patients with complete nerve palsy recovered fully at a mean of 14.5 months (range, 8.0 to 21.0 months).


Only one-half of the patients in the study who developed common peroneal nerve palsy following total hip arthroplasty recovered fully. The mean time to recovery was approximately one year for partial peroneal palsy and one and one-half years for complete palsy. Obesity adversely influenced the nerve recovery.

Level of Evidence: 

Prognostic Level II. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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