Elie Najjar, Faris Karouni, Spyridon Komaitis, Bronek Boszczyk, Nasir A. Quraishi

September 2022, pp 1 - 7 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07394-6

First Online: 26 September 2022


Despite the heterogeneity of chronic lower back pain aetiologies, cluneal nerve entrapment remains underdiagnosed and poorly understood with few studies discussing the efficacy of its surgical release.


The current study opts to conduct a systematic review reporting on the efficacy of cluneal nerve surgical decompression in patients with an established diagnosis who fail conservative treatment. We aimed to systematically evaluate the literature regarding the clinical outcomes, recurrence of symptoms and revision rates of surgical intervention.


A systematic review of the English language literature dating up until May 2022 was undertaken according to the PRISMA guidelines. Isolated case reports were excluded.


Of a total of 54 articles, 4 studies met the inclusion criteria (three were level IV evidence and one level III evidence) and were analyzed. Overall, 98 patients of mean age 61 years, (range 17–86) underwent cluneal nerve release with a mean follow-up of 25.5 months (6–58 months). There was significant improvement in symptoms post operatively in the 4 studies. No systemic or local complications were encountered during the surgeries. Four articles reported on revision surgery for recurrent symptoms in 8 patients out of 98 with a rate of 8.2%. Of the reoperated patients, 7/8 had new branches released that were not addressed initially and 1 had neurectomy for an adhered pre-released branch.


This systematic review demonstrated that cluneal nerve decompression has been performed in a total of 98 patients with significant clinical improvement, zero systemic and local complications and revision rates of 8.2% of the cases.

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