Lower extremity paralysis after operative laparoscopy from conversion disorder: A case report

Leah Berhane, Roz Kurman, Samuel Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Neurologic complications are rarely associatd with laparoscopic procedures, and most nerve injuries are transient palsies. We present the first case of paraplegia following gynecologic laparoscopy. CASE: A 34-year-old woman, gravida 2, para 0-1-1-0, with long-standing infertility, underwent an uncomplicated laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy for a persistent ovarian cystadenoma. In the immediate postoperative period, the patient developed bilateral lower extremity paralysis. She regained her sensorimotor function in one extremity within hours, while both motor and sensory functions, but not proprioception, were deficient in the other extremity in a pattern of distribution that was inconsistent and paradoxical. Diagnostic studies to evaluate the patient's central and peripheral nervous systems and evoked sensory potentials were all normal. The patient's indifference to her persistent yet paradoxical neurologic deficits was a clue to her diagnosis. In the absence of an organic lesion to account for the patient's symptoms, the diagnosis of conversion disorder was made. CONCLUSION: Neurologic complications following laparoscopy are rare, generally involving nerve palsies from local injury. This is the first report of lower extremity paralysis after laparoscopy. Although conversion disorder is rare, it may occur in the gynecologic setting owing to its prevalence in women and especially in the presence of underlying affective disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-835
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Reproductive Medicine for the Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Conversion disorder
  • Extremity
  • Laparoscopic surgical procedures
  • Lower
  • Paralysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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