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Cauda Equina Syndrome Q & A

Cauda Equina Syndrome Q & ACauda equina syndrome is a deeply unpleasant condition which can cause permanent disability if not diagnosed promptly and treated before nerve function deteriorates too far.

What causes cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome is caused by the compression of the cauda equina nerves in the lumbar region of the back. There can be a number of reasons for this such as the following:

What are the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome?

There are key red flag symptoms that will indicate that you might be suffering from cauda equina syndrome. These are as follows, depending on the degree of nerve damage:

How is cauda equina syndrome diagnosed?

If your GP thinks you may have or be developing cauda equina syndrome, you should be referred for an urgent or emergency MRI scan and for a consultation with a spinal surgeon. This should confirm if your symptoms are being caused by compression of your nerves in the lower back. Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency and prompt diagnosis is vital.

Why is cauda equina syndrome a medical emergency?

It is generally agreed that the chances of recovering from cauda equina syndrome are increased significantly if surgery is undertaken as quickly as possible and certainly within 24 – 48 hours from the onset of symptoms. If diagnosis and surgery are delayed, the damage to the nerve roots may not recover and the patient may be left with permanent symptoms.

What is the treatment for cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome is treated in an operating theatre with decompression surgery. This is usually by a laminectomy to remove part of the vertebrae , thereby relieving pressure on the cauda equina nerves.

Will I recover from cauda equina syndrome?

Your chances of recovering from cauda equina syndrome depend on how badly your cauda equina nerves are damaged at the time of surgery and how successful the surgery was. It is generally agreed that the sooner surgery takes place, the greater the chances of recovery. If surgery can be undertaken before total loss of urinary sensation, it would seem that the chance of recovery of lost function is greater.

What are the long-term effects of complete cauda equina syndrome?

If your surgery is unsuccessful or undertaken too late, the long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome can be loss of bladder, bowel and sexual function as well as mobility problems in the lower limbs and feet.

Can I make a claim for compensation if I have cauda equina syndrome?

You cannot make a claim for having developed cauda equina syndrome unless you feel it was caused by medical negligence. However, if diagnosis and treatment of your cauda equina syndrome were delayed and you have been left with a poor, long-term outlook, you might be able to make a claim for compensation which can help you deal with those long-term effects.

Will a cauda equina syndrome claim be successful?

Cauda equina syndrome compensation claims are frequently successful if it can be proved that medical negligence led to your poor outcome.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering with the appalling impact of cauda equina syndrome and you feel that poor medical treatment contributed to your distressing circumstances, contact us now. We are a team of solicitors specialising in medical negligence, especially cauda equina syndrome.

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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