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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 85-B, Issue 3 | Pages 363 - 365
1 Apr 2003
Fleming P Lenehan B O’Rourke S McHugh P Kaar K McCabe JP

Injuries to the sciatic nerve are an occasional complication of surgery to the hip and acetabulum, and traction is frequently the causative mechanism. In vitro and animal experiments have shown that increased tensile strain on peripheral nerves, when applied for prolonged periods, impairs nerve function.

We have used video-extensometry to measure strain on the human sciatic nerve during total hip replacement (THR). Ten consecutive patients with a mean age of 72 years undergoing primary THR by the posterior approach were recruited, and strains in the sciatic nerve were measured in different combinations of flexion and extension of the hip and knee, before dislocation of the hip. Significant increases (p = 0.02) in strain in the sciatic nerve were observed in flexion of the hip and extension of the knee. The mean increase was 26% (19% to 30%). In animal studies increases of this magnitude have been shown to impair electrophysiological function in peripheral nerves. Our results suggest that excessive flexion of the hip and extension of the knee should be avoided during THR.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 82-B, Issue 8 | Pages 1205 - 1206
1 Nov 2000

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 82-B, Issue 3 | Pages 433 - 434
1 Apr 2000
Fleming P Fitzgerald P Devitt A Rice J Murray P

Compression foot pumps are widely used for the prevention of postoperative venous thrombosis. We tested the efficiency of the pump in ten healthy subjects; the velocity of venous blood flow in the common femoral vein was measured in the horizontal, Trendelenberg (foot-up) and reverse-Trendelenberg (foot-down) positions.

Application of the foot pump produced an increase in the venous velocity in all subjects. The mean increase in the horizontal position was 27.2% and in the Trendelenberg position 15.4%. In the reverse-Trendelenberg position, the foot pump produced a mean increase of 102.8%.

The efficiency of the compression foot pump in increasing venous return is improved by adopting the reverse-Trendelenberg position. This may increase its thromboprophylactic effect.