Cauda Equina Syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency. Cauda Equina Syndrome occurs when the nerve roots in the lumbar spine are compressed, disrupting sensation and movement. Nerve roots that control the function of the bladder and bowel are especially vulnerable to damage. It can lead to permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, loss of sexual sensation, and other problems if left untreated. Even with immediate treatment, some patients may not recover complete function.
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare disorder that usually is a surgical emergency. In patients with cauda equina syndrome, something compresses on the spinal nerve roots. You may need fast treatment to prevent lasting damage leading to incontinence and possibly permanent paralysis of the legs.
CES affects a bundle of nerve roots called cauda equina (Latin for horse’s tail). These nerves are located at the lower end of the spinal cord in the lumbosacral spine. They send and receive messages to and from your legs, feet, and pelvic organs.
CES occurs more often in adults than in children. But it can occur in children who have a spinal birth defect or have had a spinal injury.
These are the most common causes of cauda equina syndrome:
- A severe ruptured disk in the lumbar area (the most common cause).
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis).
- A spinal lesion or malignant tumor.
- A spinal infection, inflammation, hemorrhage, or fracture.
- A complication from a severe lumbar spine injury such as a car crash, fall, gunshot, or stabbing.
- A birth defect such as an abnormal connection between blood vessels (arteriovenous malformation).
It may be hard to diagnose cauda equina syndrome. Symptoms vary and may come on slowly. They also mimic other conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away:
- Severe low back pain.
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs that causes you to stumble or have trouble getting up from a chair.
- Loss of or altered sensations in your legs, buttocks, inner thighs, backs of your legs, or feet that is severe or gets worse and worse. You may experience this as trouble feeling anything in the areas of your body that would sit in a saddle (called saddle anesthesia).
- Recent problem with bladder or bowel function, such as trouble eliminating urine or waste (retention) or trouble holding it (incontinence).
- Sexual dysfunction that has come on suddenly.
Your Legal Options
If the symptoms of Caudia Equina Syndrome are ignored or misdiagnosed, the neurological effects can be devastating. In such circumstances, decompression surgery to relieve the pressure on the spine is required to happen as soon as possible.
Our medical negligence solicitors understand the impact of this condition and can help you make a CES Claim, should medical negligence have occurred.
We at Medical Law will ensure that our Rehabilitation Experts will formulate a Care Package on your behalf, to assist in your recovery and improve the quality of your life. Medical Law will fight on your behalf and seek justice and compensation for any medical wrongs that have occurred.
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Medicallaw.ie is a team of experienced solicitors and medical consultants who specialise in taking on medical negligence claims.
The team is headed up by Siobhan Fahy, Solicitor.
We are all well qualified in our respective fields and have years of experience in the area of medical negligence. We seek justice and financial compensation for patients who feel that they have been the victim of medical neglect.
We recognise the dedication of those who serve in our hospitals and health service, but the reality is that our health system is so inadequate that many people find they have become victims of a particular consultant or the Health Service Executive itself. We are here to help.
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