How Should Cauda Equina Syndrome Be Treated?

Cauda Equina Syndrome must be treated with decompression surgery, as this is the only way to effectively relieve the nerves from pressure. This operation should be performed as soon as symptoms begin to present. If there is a delay, serious questions must be raised as to why treatment was not provided sooner. If the reason can be attributed to medical error, there could be grounds for a compensation claim.

Treating cauda equina syndrome

Cauda Equina Syndrome is when the bundle of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord becomes compressed. This may happen because of, for example, a slipped disc or a spinal tumour. Whatever the cause, when the nerves are subject to such pressure, they will become damaged and lose function. This will lead to certain neurological symptoms including back pain, urinary problems (such as the inability to empty the bladder), loss of sensation in the private parts and buttocks, and poor anal tone.

When someone presents with symptoms that are consistent with Cauda Equina Syndrome, doctors should waste no time in making a diagnosis and providing emergency treatment. A patient should be sent for an urgent MRI scan and, if spinal nerve compression is detected, a suitable course of treatment decided upon.

In the majority of cases, emergency decompression surgery will be required to relieve the nerves. But if compression is being caused by an inflammatory condition, antibiotics should be administered. Similarly, if a spinal tumour is present, a cancer care plan must be devised.

What happens if cauda equina treatment is delayed?

Whatever the most suitable course of treatment, it must be provided without delay. This is because the cauda equina nerves can become severely damaged within a very short space of time. If they are compressed for too long, the injury will be so extensive that a repair will prove largely in effective, thereby leaving a patient with permanent neurological complications. This may include total or partial paralysis, constant pain, and the inability to urinate without a catheter.

Because there is only a small window of opportunity to treat Cauda Equina Syndrome, medical professionals must not defer treatment. If there is a delay and medical professionals are to blame – perhaps because the wrong diagnosis was made or treatment was not considered urgent – there could be grounds for a medical negligence claim. Ensure you contact a specialist solicitor today if you think you may have grounds for a potential claim and they will be able to begin the process with you.

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