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CES Because Of A Prolapsed Disc

If you develop cauda equina syndrome because of a prolapsed (slipped) disc, you need to undergo immediate surgical decompression. If medical practitioners fail to achieve this, there will be grounds for a compensation claim.

Cauda equina compression after a slipped disc

A slipped or prolapsed disc is when the outer part of a vertebral disc tears, allowing the inner part to protrude outwards. The bulging disc can press upon nearby nerves, as can the inflamed tissue surrounding the disc.

In a minority of cases, the nerves pressed on by the slipped disc are those which control the bladder and the bowel. These nerves are located at the bottom of the spinal cord inside the spinal canal, and together are known as the cauda equina.

When the cauda equina is compressed, a patient will suddenly experience problems with the function of their bladder and bowels. For example, he/she may be unable to pass urine or open their bowels. There may be incontinence of urine and/or faeces, and there may also be numbness in the inner saddle area of the bottom and thighs.

CES: a surgical emergency

There are two types of cauda equina syndrome: acute and chronic. Acute CES is when the symptoms appear very suddenly and severely, whereas chronic CES is when symptoms appear very gradually over weeks or months.

Acute cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency. This means that surgery must be carried out immediately if serious complications are to be evaded. Any delay in treatment will reduce a patient’s chance of making a full recovery.

Treatment must involve a spinal operation to remove the disc and decompress the nerves. This is known as surgical decompression surgery.

Delay in treating CES

Unfortunately, however, there can be delays in treating cauda equina syndrome. Often this is because medical practitioners do not consider the possibility of cauda equina compression. This can happen even when a patient is known to have a slipped disc.

A delay in treatment will lead to devastating neurological complications, including reduced sensation in the saddle region, incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Some may also have a degree of paralysis.

If a patient suffers these complications because medical practitioners fail to recognise cauda equina compression after a prolapsed disc, there will be a case of medical negligence. A patient will therefore be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation, allowing him/her to obtain financial redress for the damages wrongfully incurred.

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