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How Should Cauda Equina Syndrome Be Managed?

Cauda equina syndrome must be appropriately managed by medical professionals as it is important to treat the condition before urinary retention develops. This is because the prognosis for recovery from cauda equina syndrome is poor, making it very likely that a patient will be left to suffer permanent neurological complications.

How to effectively treat cauda equina syndrome

A large number of people who have cauda equina syndrome will first experience lower back pain along with altered urinary habits. This causes many to seek medical attention from their GP, rather than from their local hospital.

A reasonably competent GP should recognise that back pain and urinary retention are characteristic of spinal nerve compression. However, these symptoms are also very similar to a number of other illnesses. Therefore further investigation is required to confirm a diagnosis.

A urine test should be performed to ensure a patient does not have a urinary tract infection, one of the most common misdiagnoses of cauda equina syndrome. A physical examination should then be carried out to assess whether a patient has poor lower limb reflexes, reduced perineal sensation and poor anal tone. All of these are indicative of spinal nerve compression.

If these symptoms are present, a GP should make a phone call there and then to the appropriate surgeon at the nearest hospital. It is common practice for General Practitioners to refer patients to hospital for an urgent orthopaedic opinion.

In hospital, a patient will usually attend the Emergency Department where the orthopaedic staff will carry out a review. This will involve a discussion about the nature of a patient’s symptoms, blood and urine tests, and a physical examination to assess urinary retention an, anal tone and saddle sensory disturbance.

If the examining doctor finds there is poor anal tone and urinary retention then the patient should be seen as requiring emergency investigation in the form of MRI scanning. This should be performed as soon as possible. If the scan shows the nerves are being compressed, emergency decompression surgery should be carried out without delay.

Was your cauda equina syndrome negligently managed?

If medical professionals failed to treat your cauda equina syndrome in the manner described above, you will be the victim of a substandard level of medical care. If this caused you to suffer cauda equina complications that could have been avoided with an earlier diagnosis and surgery, you will be in a position to make a medical negligence claim. To find out more, get in touch with us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors.

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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