Renal transplantation is an accepted treatment for patients with end stage renal disease form insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Acute lumbosacral plexopathy developed following renal transplantation in 4 female patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus between January 1, 1981 and June 30, 1988. In all 4 patients the internal iliac artery was used for revascularization of the renal allograft with ligation of the anterior and posterior divisions. Within 24 hours of surgery they complained of ipsilateral buttock pain, numbness in the leg and weakness below the knee. This complication has not been observed in nondiabetic patients at our institution, nor in diabetic patients when the internal iliac artery was not used. However, lumbosacral plexopathy occurred in 4 of 27 (14.8%) female patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus when the internal iliac artery was used (p less than 0.001). Age, duration of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cigarette smoking history and kidney donor were not significant predictors of this complication. This unusual and newly recognized complication appears to result from ischemia of the lumbosacral plexus following ligation of the internal iliac artery in patients with severe small vessel disease.
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