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Central Disc Protrusion And Cauda Equina Syndrome

A large centrally prolapsed disc can result in a condition called cauda equina syndrome. This is a serious complication that requires immediate surgical treatment. If medical practitioners fail to diagnose and treat a central disc protrusion in time, the consequences can be life-changing for the patient.

If your slipped disc caused cauda equina syndrome but you were not treated quickly, please get in touch with us to discuss your options. If there has been a substandard level of medical care, there could be grounds for a medical compensation claim.

Prolapsed disc

A prolapsed disc is also called a slipped disc or herniated disc.

The spine is made up of vertebrae which are stacked on top of each other to create a spinal column. The spinal column protects the spinal cord which runs from the brain, down through the back and into the pelvis. It also enables movement and stability in the back.

In between each vertebrae sits an intervertebral disc. This cushions the vertebrae, preventing them from grinding together. A disc is made up of a tough outer case, and a soft gel-like centre (called the nucleus).

If the outer case has a weakness and splits, the soft centre will spill through the gap and press upon the surrounding structures. This will cause pain and, if any nerves are compression, neurological dysfunction.

Central disc prolapse

A prolapsed disc can happen in any part of the spine, including the lumbar region (i.e. the lower back). If a disc herniates at the L5-S1 level, there is a chance that it will press upon a bundle of nerves called the cauda equina nerves. This is more likely to happen with a large, central disc prolapse.

If the cauda equina nerves are compressed by a prolapsed disc, it will lead to a condition called cauda equina syndrome. This is when the nerves are damaged and lose function due to compression.

Recognising and treated cauda equina syndrome

When a prolapsed disc compresses the cauda equina nerves, it will result in a host of symptoms. These include lower back pain, sciatica, urinary dysfunction and numbness around the buttocks, perineum, legs and genitals.

When these symptoms appear together, medical practitioners should suspect cauda equina syndrome. A diagnosis should be relatively simply if a patient is already known to have a prolapsed disc. If not, investigations should be conducted to discover the underlying cause. An MRI scan will show the prolapsed disc is pressing on the nerves.

Failure to treat central disc prolapse/cauda equina syndrome

If a prolapsed disc leads to cauda equina syndrome but doctors fail to diagnose and treat the problem, there may be a case of medical negligence. Contact us to find out more.

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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