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Will I Recover Function After Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If cauda equina syndrome is not treated in time, a patient may be left with reduced neurological function. Amongst other complications, this can include bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and partial or total paralysis in the lower limbs.

Bladder function

People who have been left with cauda equina complications often have markedly disturbed bladder function. A patient may have to strain and press upon the bladder in order to urinate. Urinary flow may be slow and it can take a long time to void a small volume of urine. There may also be episodes of urgency and urge incontinence – e.g. leaking urine upon coughing or sneezing. Incontinence pads may therefore be required.

Patients with permanently reduced bladder function are at risk of developing urinary infections because of the presence of impaired bladder emptying. Nevertheless, patients with low pressure bladders are not, as a rule, at risk of developing kidney failure. This is because they do not, generally speaking, reflux urine back to the kidneys. Thus renal damage is uncommon in cauda equina patients.

Sexual function

Cauda equina syndrome can result in sexual dysfunction. For males this may represent the inability to achieve/maintain an erection and/or an orgasm. For females, sexual dysfunction often means the complete loss of sensation in the genital area, including the inability to achieve orgasm.

Paralysis in the lower limbs

Paralysis in the lower limbs may be total, necessitating the use of a wheelchair. Alternatively it may be partial, necessitating the use of walking aids such as a walking stick. It can also be very painful for cauda equina patients to walk, as there may be a persistent pain in the lower back and legs.

Can function be regained?

The majority of patients who recover at least some function after cauda equina syndrome will do so within the first two years of surgical decompression. However, some patients will continue to recover function for up to five years after surgery.

On this basis, if two years have yet to pass since decompression, it is possible that a patient will see an improvement in their symptoms. But if three years have gone by, a patient is unlikely to recover any further function over and above what he/she already has.

Have you been left permanently injured?

If you have been left permanently injured because your cauda equina syndrome was not treated in time, please get in touch with us today. You may have been the victim of medical negligence.

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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