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Incidence, Risk Factors, and Trends of Motor Peripheral Nerve Injury After Colorectal Surgery



Motor peripheral nerve injury is a rare but serious event after colorectal surgery, and a nationwide study of this complication is lacking.


The purpose of this study was to report the incidence, trends, and risk factors of motor peripheral nerve injury during colorectal surgery.


The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was surveyed for motor peripheral nerve injury complicating colorectal procedures. Risk factors for this complication were identified using logistic regression analysis.


The study used a national database.


Patients undergoing colorectal resection between 2005 and 2013 were included.

Main outcome measures

The incidence, trends, and risk factors for motor peripheral nerve injury complicating colorectal procedures were measured.


We identified 186,936 colorectal cases, of which 50,470 (27%) were performed laparoscopically. Motor peripheral nerve injury occurred in 122 patients (0.065%). Injury rates declined over the study period, from 0.025% in 2006 to <0.010% in 2013 (p < 0.001). Patients with motor peripheral nerve injury were younger (mean ± SD; 54.02 ± 15.41 y vs 61.56 ± 15.95 y; p < 0.001), more likely to be obese (BMI ≥30; 43% vs 31%; p = 0.003), and more likely to have received radiotherapy (12.3% vs 4.7%; p < 0.001). Nerve injury was also associated with longer operative times (277.16 ± 169.79 min vs 176.69 ± 104.80 min; p < 0.001) and was less likely to be associated with laparoscopy (p = 0.043). Multivariate analysis revealed that increasing operative time was associated with nerve injury (OR = 1.04 (95% CI, 1.03-1.04)), whereas increasing age was associated with a protective effect (OR = 0.80 (95% CI, 0.71-0.90)).


This study was limited by its retrospective nature.


Motor peripheral nerve injury during colorectal procedures is uncommon (0.065%), and its rate declined significantly over the study period. Prolonged operative time is the strongest predictor of motor peripheral nerve injury during colorectal procedures. Instituting and documenting measures to prevent nerve injury is imperative; however, special attention to this complication is necessary when surgeons contemplate long colorectal procedures.

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