Deep gluteal syndrome as a cause of posterior hip pain and sciatica-like pain

The Bone & Joint Journal, Vol. 102-B, No. 5 

Jung Wee Park, Young-Kyun Lee, Yun Jong Lee, Seunghwan Shin, Yusuhn Kang, Kyung-Hoi Koo

Deep gluteal syndrome is an increasingly recognized disease entity, caused by compression of the sciatic or pudendal nerve due to non-discogenic pelvic lesions. It includes the piriformis syndrome, the gemelli-obturator internus syndrome, the ischiofemoral impingement syndrome, and the proximal hamstring syndrome. The concept of the deep gluteal syndrome extends our understanding of posterior hip pain due to nerve entrapment beyond the traditional model of the piriformis syndrome. Nevertheless, there has been terminological confusion and the deep gluteal syndrome has often been undiagnosed or mistaken for other conditions. Careful history-taking, a physical examination including provocation tests, an electrodiagnostic study, and imaging are necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

After excluding spinal lesions, MRI scans of the pelvis are helpful in diagnosing deep gluteal syndrome and identifying pathological conditions entrapping the nerves. It can be conservatively treated with multidisciplinary treatment including rest, the avoidance of provoking activities, medication, injections, and physiotherapy.

Endoscopic or open surgical decompression is recommended in patients with persistent or recurrent symptoms after conservative treatment or in those who may have masses compressing the sciatic nerve.

Many physicians remain unfamiliar with this syndrome and there is a lack of relevant literature. This comprehensive review aims to provide the latest information about the epidemiology, aetiology, pathology, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(5):556–567.

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