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Cauda Equina Syndrome From An Epidural

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare complication of an epidural injection. In this article we explore how an epidural can cause cauda equina syndrome and what to do if this has happened to you.

How does an epidural cause cauda equina syndrome?

An epidural is when medication is injected into the epidural space, an area close to the spine. Normally when people use the term ‘epidural’ they are referring to an epidural anaesthetic. Other medication such as steroids can also be administered via an epidural injection.

Epidurals have a number of possible complications, with cauda equina syndrome being one of the least common. An epidural can cause cauda equina syndrome in one of two ways:-

1. Arachnoiditis:

An arachnoid is a protective membrane that surrounds the nerves of the spinal cord. If an arachnoid becomes inflamed, it will lead to a condition called arachnoiditis. This inflammation can happen as a result of an epidural – either because of chemical irritation or infection.

Arachnoiditis can in turn lead to cauda equina syndrome because the inflammation will compress the spinal nerves, causing them to suffer harm. If the inflammation is not treated the nerves will become increasingly damaged, causing long-term neurological complications.

2. Nerve damage:

Alternatively an epidural can directly damage or irritate the spinal nerve roots. Because of the injury, function will be lost, leading to the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. In some patients the symptoms will improve as the epidural anaesthesia wears off. However, for some the effects will be permanent.

Claiming for cauda equina syndrome

If you have developed cauda equina syndrome after having an epidural, you might be wondering if you are the victim of medical negligence.

Unfortunately epidurals do carry complications and a patient should be asked for their consent before it is administered. Therefore cauda equina syndrome from an epidural may not necessarily amount to negligence.

However, there will be grounds for a claim if the epidural was not administered correctly, causing an arachnoid or nerve root to become inflamed. Additionally, there will be grounds for a claim if medical professionals failed to diagnose the problem in a timely fashion, resulting in permanent complications.

Solicitors for cauda equina syndrome

If you have developed cauda equina syndrome after an epidural, contact us today to discuss your options. It may be that you are the victim of medical error and are therefore entitled to claim compensation for the damage you have incurred.

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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