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Cauda Equina Syndrome Surgery

Cauda equina syndrome surgery is known as decompression surgery. In this article we look at cauda equina syndrome surgery in more detail, and also explore the way in which cauda equina syndrome can be caused by surgical error.

Cauda equina syndrome surgery

Cauda equina syndrome sees the nerves at the base of the spine become compressed. To treat the condition, the nerves must be surgically decompressed. Surgery is the only way to treat cauda equina syndrome; conservative management of the condition will not be effective and will in fact harm the patient further.

There are different techniques the surgeon may employ during lumbar decompression surgery. The technique chosen will depend upon the patient’s condition and the preference of the surgeon. The possible techniques include a laminectomy, discectomy and spinal fusion. Whatever method is adopted, the aim of surgery is to remove whatever is pressing upon the nerves.

Timing of cauda equina syndrome surgery

Much is made of the timing of cauda equina syndrome surgery. This is a very important point because the nerves are extremely sensitive and will soon suffer permanent damage. Surgery must be performed before this occurs.

There is some debate as to the amount of time surgeons have to operate because the damage becomes irreparable. In cases of acute cauda equina syndrome, it is generally accepted that surgery must be carried out within 48 hours.

Cauda equina syndrome caused by surgery

It is also worth noting that cauda equina syndrome can be caused by surgical error. For example, a patient may be undergoing a back operation for another condition, during which an injury to the cauda equina nerves is sustained.

Such injuries can be caused by excessive retraction and/or compression of the central spinal canal. This would represent substandard treatment. Although the consent form may warn of nerve root injury, this usually reflects the vulnerable nerve root exiting the spinal canal at the level of the surgery which does require traction in order to access the disc space.

Unilateral and isolated nerve root injuries are not uncommonly seen after an operation of this type, particularly for large discs. However, multiple nerve root injuries require injuries to nerve roots throughout the diameter of the spinal area and would represent substandard treatment.

Delayed cauda equina syndrome surgery/negligent surgery

If your cauda equina syndrome surgery was not carried out in time because of delays in medical care, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. Similarly, if your cauda equina syndrome was caused by surgical error, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

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