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Cauda Equina Compression

If you are suffering from cauda equina compression, it is vital you undergo emergency decompression surgery to alleviate the pressure on the nerves.

What is cauda equina compression?

The spinal cord is a long, thin mass of nerves that runs from the brain and down through the middle of the spine. At the bottom of the spinal cord is another bundle of nerves called the cauda equina, which means ‘horse tail’ in Latin.

The cauda equina nerves send and receive messages to the pelvic organs (including the bladder and rectum), the pelvic area (including the perineum and genitalia) and the legs. They therefore serve a very important purpose, as they enable us to maintain control of our bladder and bowels, use our legs and have sensation in our pelvic area.

But if an accident or illness occurs and the cauda equina nerves are pressed upon, they will quickly sustain an injury. This can happen if one of the lumbar vertebrae slips, if a lesion develops at the bottom of the spine, or the spinal canal narrows. Whatever the underlying cause might be, if someone’s cauda equina nerves are placed under pressure, he or she has cauda equina compression.

How is cauda equina compression treated?

Cauda equina compression requires urgent treatment if a patient is to avoid long-term complications. Decompression surgery must be performed to relieve the pressure upon the nerves. Or if a lesion such as a tumour is causing the compression, a suitable course of treatment must be devised.

It is important not to delay treating spinal nerve compression because the longer the cauda equina nerves are compressed, the more damage they will suffer. If compression continues for too long, the harm will be so extensive that the nerve cells cannot re-grow. When this happens, a patient will be left with poor neurological function, something which is associated with permanent bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction.

What if there is a delay in treating cauda equina compression?

If there is a delay in treating cauda equina compression, it is necessary to establish why this delay occurred. If it was the fault of medical professionals, they will have provided a substandard level of medical care. For example, if you presented to your GP or hospital with symptoms typical of cauda equina compression but doctors failed to make a diagnosis, there will be a case of medical negligence. The same is true if doctors failed to carry out the appropriate diagnostic tests in a timely fashion, or failed to perform emergency surgery.

If you have suffered complications because there was a delay in treating your cauda equina compression, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact the Cauda Equina Solicitors to speak to a legal expert today.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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