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Cauda Equina Lesion

A cauda equina lesion is when something damages the cauda equina nerves. This might be an injury caused by a traumatic accident, an illness or a growth.

What can cause a cauda equina lesion?

The cauda equina nerves sit at the end of the spinal cord and serve the bladder, bowel, sexual organs and legs. They also enable sensation in the perineum, genitalia and buttocks.

If these nerves become damaged for any reason, they are said to have suffered a lesion. There are various ways in which this can happen:-

1. Slipped disc: one of the most common is a slipped (herniated) lumbar disc, something which may occur due to general wear and tear or a traumatic injury. It causes a cauda equina lesion because the vertebral disc slips out of position and presses against the nerves. This friction damages the nerves.

2. Illness: there are certain illnesses which compress the cauda equina nerves. One such example is spinal stenosis, whereby the spinal canal narrows. If this occurs in the lower part of the spine, the cauda equina nerves will be compressed. The same will be true certain spinal infections and inflammatory diseases.

3. Tumour and other growths: the cauda equina nerves can also suffer a lesion if an abnormal lump develops on the spine. Most often this will occur because a tumour is growing in the lumbar region of the spine, in turn pressing upon the nerves. This will also be the case if someone has lymphomas, an abscess or a post-operative haematoma on their spine.

Treating a cauda equina lesion

If the cauda equina nerves do sustain a lesion, medical intervention must be provided as quickly as possible to limit the extent of damage. Doctors should recognise the tell-tale symptoms of cauda equina nerve damage (known medically as Cauda Equina Syndrome) and waste no time discovering the underlying cause.

Once it is clear why the lesion occurred, an appropriate course of treatment can be provided. Normally this will involve decompression surgery to alleviate the pressure being placed on the nerves. However, if a patient has an infection, antibiotics will need to be administered. Similarly, if a patient is found to have a spinal tumour, a cancer care plan must be devised.

Failure to treat a cauda equina lesion

However, there are occasions when a patient has a cauda equina lesion, and yet the problem is not diagnosed and treated by medical professionals until it is too late. Indeed, if the nerves are compression for so long that the nerves cells die, they will be unable to regrow. A patient will then face a life-time of neurological complications.

Sometimes this will happen because the patient did not seek medical attention until the advanced stages of the condition. But more often than not, it happens because medical professionals failed to accurately diagnose the Cauda Equina Syndrome in a reasonable amount of time. This will amount to medical negligence, and if this has happened to you or your loved one, you could be entitled to compensation. To find out more, contact us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors.

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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