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Delayed Surgery For Incomplete Cauda Equina Syndrome

If a patient is diagnosed with incomplete cauda equina syndrome, immediate lumbar decompression is needed. This is a surgical procedure and is deemed to be an emergency.

A delay in performing lumbar decompression surgery can result in very serious complications for the patient.

If medical practitioners fail to provide emergency surgery for incomplete cauda equina syndrome, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

For more information on claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome, please contact us today.

Incomplete and complete cauda equina syndrome

Incomplete cauda equina syndrome is the first stage of the condition. It is associated with symptoms that include urinary difficulties, but the patient will still have some control over their bladder.

Complete cauda equina syndrome is the second and final stage of the condition. It has the same symptoms as incomplete cauda equina syndrome, only the patient no longer has any bladder control. There will be no sensation in the bladder and the patient will not be able to decide when to urinate. This will lead to the retention of urine and episodes of incontinence.

Surgery for incomplete and complete cauda equina syndrome

The distinction between incomplete and complete cauda equina syndrome is important because it determines the urgency with which surgery is performed.

An incomplete lesion requires immediate surgery as this offers the best chance of improvement in symptoms.

But if the condition is already complete, timing of surgery is debatable. Most doctors agree that by this stage the nerves are severely damaged and immediate surgery will not improve symptoms. A patient may therefore be listed for surgery the following day.

Delayed surgery for incomplete cauda equina syndrome

If a patient has incomplete cauda equina syndrome, he/she must be sent for immediate lumbar decompression surgery.

If the hospital does not have the facilities or resources to perform emergency decompression surgery, a patient should be transferred to another hospital which can confirm its ability to carry out the operation.

The patient will have to consent to the transfer. Medical staff should make the patient fully aware of the risk and potential long-term consequences of delayed surgery. The patient should also be strongly advised to agree to the transfer due to the consequences of a delay.

Medical negligence delay in cauda equina treatment

The failure to carry out emergency decompression on a patient who has incomplete cauda equina syndrome is likely to represent a breach in duty of care.

Additionally, the failure to state that the situation is an emergency and strongly advocate immediate surgical decompression is likely to represent a breach in duty of care.

If your surgery was delayed and you have been injured, please contact our legal team to discuss claiming compensation.

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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