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Function after Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome can result in long-term physical, psychological and financial injuries if treatment is not provided in time.

Cauda equina compression

The cauda equina nerves serve the pelvic organs, lower limbs and peri-anal region, enabling function and sensation.

When the cauda equina nerves are compressed (as is the case with cauda equina syndrome) function and sensation in the pelvic organs, lower limbs and peri-anal region will be lost. This will be evident by the onset of symptoms such as back pain, difficulty urinating and reduced perineal sensation.

These symptoms will improve, and possibly resolve, if surgical decompression is carried out in the early stages. However, if the nerves become irreparably injured, treatment will prove ineffective and a patient will be left with permanent complications.

Cauda equina compression: long-term problems

A patient who is left with permanent cauda equina complication may suffer some or all of the following:-

  1. Bladder dysfunction – including difficulty voiding, emptying the bladder and the need for self-catheterisation.
  2. Bowel dysfunction – including urgency of defecation due to poor anal tone, and constipation due to painkillers.
  3. Saddle anaesthesia – including numbness in the saddle and genital region.
  4. Sexual dysfunction – including the inability to achieve/maintain an erection or orgasm.
  5. Problems with the lower limbs – including numbness in the leg(s), foot drop, weak ankle(s), reduced balance and swollen limbs. This may lead to partial/total paralysis and the need for walking aids or a wheelchair.
  6. Employment difficulties – including the inability to continue in the same line of work, or find a suitable alternative.
  7. Relationship problems – the loss of sexual function, loss of independence and psychological trauma can lead to the breakdown in relationships.
  8. Loss of amenity – including the inability to continue with hobbies, drive a vehicle or perform simple household chores such as cleaning and shopping.
  9. Difficulty sleeping – usually due to the extent of pain.
  10. Psychological trauma – including depression, anxiety and anger, as well as problems with self-esteem and confidence.

Compensation for cauda equina syndrome

These complications will be devastating and will turn a person’s life upside down. If this is something to have affected you, you need to consider whether medical professionals caused your problems by failing to provide an acceptable standard of care.

For example, if medical practitioners failed to diagnose the condition, despite the fact you presented with the clinical features of spinal nerve compression, your treatment will have been wrongfully delayed. If you would have enjoyed a considerably better outcome in neurological function with earlier treatment, there will be a case of medical negligence.

To find out more about claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome, please get in touch with us today.

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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