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Permanent Cauda Equina Injury

If cauda equina syndrome is not quickly treated, the patient will be left with permanently injured cauda equina nerves.

Cauda equina injury

The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves at the base of the spine. If they are compressed (for instance, by a slipped disc), decompression surgery must be immediately performed.

If this is not achieve quickly enough, the patient will be left with a permanent cauda equina injury. Most notably there will be reduced resting anal tone and voluntary squeeze, reduced sensation in the perineum, genitals and legs, and weakness in the legs/feet. A cauda equina injury will also cause the bladder to lose sensation and function.

Bladder dysfunction

Due to bladder dysfunction, the patient will not be able to feel their bladder filling up. Furthermore, the patient will not be able to empty the bladder properly – often referred to as incomplete voiding.

If there is incomplete voiding the patient will need to do intermittent self-catheterisation (ISC). The patient may pass less than one half of their bladder volume, with the rest drained via ISC. If the bladder is not completely emptied of urine, the patient will develop recurrent urinary tract infection.

When the patient does go to the toilet, it may be very slow to pass urine and it may be necessary to press on the abdomen. Females sometimes say they must stand up to void.

Incontinence of urine

Because there will be no sensation in the bladder, the patient will not be aware of the need to go to the toilet. Patients will have to void by the clock, meaning they visit the bathroom at regular intervals during the day, despite not having the desire to urinate.

If the patient forgets to void, the bladder will become too full and will overflow. Therefore the patient may need to wear a pad by way of protection and also carry a change of clothes.

Lifestyle restrictions

Consequently the patient will have to endure restrictions to lifestyle, including impaired mobility, lack of employment, inability to undertake hobbies, and absent sexual dysfunction. All of these things can occur as a result of a cauda equina injury.

There may be some improvement in a patient’s condition, but the symptoms will be considered permanent after two years have passed.

Compensation claim

If a patient suffers this life-changing injuries because doctors did not manage to treat cauda equina syndrome in time, there could be grounds for a compensation claim. To find out if you can claim, 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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