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Cauda Equina Syndrome Recovery

It is possible to recover from cauda equina syndrome. The patients who enjoy the best outcomes are those who have decompression surgery shortly after their symptoms start. If surgery is delayed, normal function may not be recovered.

Emergency surgery for cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency, which means treatment is needed immediately to prevent long-lasting damage. With cauda equina syndrome, the treatment that is required is decompression surgery. This will relieve the pressure being placed on the cauda equina nerves, which are being pinched by a lesion or inflammation – for instance, a slipped disc, tumour or abscess.

Generally medical experts agree that decompression surgery is needed within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Cauda equina syndrome is characterised by bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction. So when the patient starts to notice problems with urination, there are just 24 hours for decompression surgery to be carried out.

Early surgery

If surgery is performed within 24 hours, the patient has a good chance of recovery. There may be a few residual symptoms, but these can improve with time. In fact, it can take up to two years for the patient to recover normal, or near-normal, function. After two years there is unlikely to be any further improvement.

Therefore if you underwent timely decompression surgery, it is likely that you will make a good recovery from cauda equina syndrome, although a recovery can take up to two years. After this time, any symptoms you still have are likely to be permanent.

Delayed surgery

Even if surgery is performed within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, there is scope for recovery. But after 48 hours, the patient’s chances of a recovery are receding. This is because the nerves will have sustained extensive harm, from which they will not recover. Surgery is still needed to prevent further deterioration, but sadly the symptoms the patient is suffering at the time of surgery are likely to be permanent.

Therefore if you had surgery 48 hours after your symptoms started, you may not recover normal function. Again, there may be some improvement in the two years after the operation, but usually there will be long-term injury. This can be life-changing.

Doctors delayed my surgery

If you have made a poor recovery after cauda equina syndrome, you need to consider whether opportunities were missed to treat you. If you believe medical practitioners should have transferred you to theatre at an earlier stage, you should speak to a solicitor about the care you received. Your poor recovery could be attributed to medical negligence. If so, you will be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. Contact us for more information.

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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