Surgical Management of Deep Gluteal Syndrome Causing Sciatic Nerve Entrapment: A Systematic Review Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: To assess the causes, surgical indications, patient-reported clinical outcomes, and complications in patients with deep gluteal syndrome causing sciatic nerve entrapment. METHODS: Three databases (PubMed, Ovid [MEDLINE], and Embase) were searched by 2 reviewers independently from database inception until September 7, 2016. The inclusion criteria were studies reporting on both arthroscopic and open surgery and those with Level I to IV evidence. Systematic reviews, conference abstracts, book chapters, and technical reports with no outcome data were excluded. The methodologic quality of the studies was assessed with the MINORS (Methodological Index for Non-randomized Studies) tool. RESULTS: The search identified 1,539 studies, of which 28 (481 patients; mean age, 48 years) were included for assessment. Of the studies, 24 were graded as Level IV, 3 as Level III, and 1 as Level II. The most commonly identified causes were iatrogenic (30%), piriformis syndrome (26%), trauma (15%), and non-piriformis (hamstring, obturator internus) muscle pathology (14%). The decision to pursue surgical management was made based on clinical findings and diagnostic investigations alone in 50% of studies, whereas surgical release was attempted only after failed conservative management in the other 50%. Outcomes were positive, with an improvement in pain at final follow-up (mean, 23 months) reported in all 28 studies. The incidence of complications from these procedures was low: Fewer than 1% and 8% of open surgical procedures and 0% and fewer than 1% of endoscopic procedures resulted in major (deep wound infection) and minor complications, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Although most of the studies identified were case series and reports, the results consistently showed improvement in pain and a low incidence of complications, particularly for endoscopic procedures. These findings lend credence to surgical management as a viable option for buttock pain caused by deep gluteal syndrome and warrant further investigation. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, systematic review of Level II through IV studies.


  • Kay, Jeffrey
  • de SA, Darren
  • Morrison, Laura
  • Fejtek, Emily
  • Simunovic, Nicole
  • Martin, Hal D
  • Ayeni, Olufemi

publication date

  • December 2017