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Delayed Decompression Surgery

A patient with cauda equina syndrome must undergo urgent decompression surgery if he or she is to regain normal function. This must be done before the condition progresses to the complete stage, as the prognosis for recovery from cauda equina syndrome with urinary retention is poor.

Deciding upon decompression surgery

Cauda equina syndrome has very distinct neurological symptoms, including:

In isolation, these symptoms do not require urgent investigation. For example, if a patient just has lower back pain, this will be a generalised problem that does not indicate urgent referral.

However, if these symptoms are suffered in conjunction, medical professionals must appreciate that a patient may have spinal nerve compression. This should prompt a physical examination to be performed without delay and, if this supports the possibility of cauda equina syndrome, an urgent MRI scan carried out. If the imaging shows that the nerves are being compressed, emergency decompression surgery should be performed.

Consequences of a delay in decompression surgery

But unfortunately not all medical professionals understand the signs of cauda equina syndrome, instead believing them to indicative of a more minor condition. Consequently, a patient is discharged from hospital or leaves their GP surgery without undergoing the necessary treatment.

This will, however, prove devastating, as cauda equina syndrome must be treated in the early stages if permanent complications are to be avoided. This is because the longer compression continues for, the more extensive the damage will be. After a short period of time, the nerves will be so injured that the cells die, after which they cannot regrow. This will result in long-term neurological health complaints, including:

These problems will be more severe that if surgery had been performed at an earlier stage.

Have you suffered a delay in decompression surgery?

If you have suffered complications because of a delay in decompression surgery, you could be in a position to make a claim. This will be the case if medical professionals had the opportunity to make an earlier diagnosis and yet failed to do so, thereby leading to a delay in surgery and prolonged pain and suffering.

To find out whether you are able to make a claim for the delayed treatment of cauda equina syndrome, contact us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors for a free initial enquiry.

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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