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Recovering From Cauda Equina Syndrome

The prognosis for recovery after cauda equina syndrome is dependent upon how quickly treatment is provided. If decompression surgery is performed soon after the onset of symptoms, a patient can go on to make a full recovery. But if there is too much of a delay, a patient will probably not regain normal function.

What is cauda equina syndrome?

If you have been diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome, it means the nerves at the bottom of your spinal cord have become compressed. This can happen for a number of reasons, with a slipped disc pushing upon the nerves being one of the most common causes.

Whatever the underlying problem, it remains true that any type of compression will damage the nerves, causing them to lose function. Within a short amount of time this will lead to symptoms such as chronic back and leg pain, the loss of sensation in the bladder, urethra and genitalia, sexual dysfunction and poor rectal tone.

When nerve compression actually causes these symptoms to develop, a patient is said to have cauda equina syndrome.

Will I recover from cauda equina syndrome?

A patient who is suffering the symptoms of spinal nerve compression must quickly be assessed by medical professionals to check whether or not they have cauda equina syndrome. If a positive diagnosis is made, no time should be wasted in performing emergency decompression surgery to alleviate the pressure upon the nerves.

It is absolutely essential this treatment is given while the condition is still incomplete, (meaning a patient still has some sensation in the bladder). This is because when the condition is incomplete, the nerves cells have not yet died and they can regenerate.

If decompression surgery is performed at this stage, the cells will regrow and a patient will go on to make a recovery. It may take some time for function to return, while there may also some residual problems. But generally speaking, a patient stands a good chance of recovery if treatment is provided while the condition is incomplete.

However, if cauda equina syndrome progresses to the complete stage (meaning a patient has painless urinary retention and overflow incontinence) the outlook is less favourable. This is because the nerve cells will have died, after which they cannot regrow. A patient will therefore be left with permanent complications. These will vary in severity but usually involve urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and partial or total paralysis.

Have you suffered because of a delay in treatment?

If your cauda equina syndrome was not treated in the incomplete stages, causing you to develop long-term health problems, you need to question why this occurred. If doctors are to blame – because they did not make a timely diagnosis or perform surgery in a prompt fashion – you will be entitled to compensation.

Contact us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors to find out more about claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome.

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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