CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME
If you suffer from pain, weakness, or loss of function related to cauda equina syndrome, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Brain and Spine Specialists define Cauda equina syndrome as an emergency situation in which severe compression damages the nerve root of the lower spine, cutting off sensation and movement.
Patients with cauda equina syndrome will require immediate attention from a Brain and Spine Specialist to relieve pressure on the nerves before permanent damage can set in. Unattended cauda equina syndrome can result in permanent loss of lower body movement, loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sexual sensation, and other issues.
What Causes Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome can occur due to many conditions, including:
Indication Of Cauda Equina Syndrome
The symptoms of cauda equina syndrome may include:
- Lower Back Pain: Severe, sharp, or shooting pain in the lower back, buttocks, or legs. The pain may radiate down the back of the thighs and calves.
- Leg Weakness: Weakness or difficulty moving one or both legs. This weakness may affect the ability to walk, stand, or lift the feet.
- Numbness or Tingling: Numbness or a “pins and needles” sensation in the buttocks, genital area, inner thighs, or legs.
- Loss of Sensation: Reduced or loss of sensation in the saddle area (the area that would touch a saddle when sitting), inner thighs, or back of the legs.
- Bladder or Bowel Dysfunction: Difficulty urinating, urinary retention (inability to urinate), loss of bladder or bowel control, or a loss of sensation related to bladder or bowel function.
- Sexual Dysfunction: Decreased sensation, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty achieving orgasm in men, and decreased sensation or difficulty achieving orgasm in women.
- Altered Reflexes: Decreased or absent reflexes in the lower extremities, such as the ankle reflex or knee reflex.
It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if cauda equina syndrome is suspected, as early intervention is vital to prevent permanent neurological damage. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate symptoms and improve long-term outcomes.
Treatment For Cauda Equina Syndrome
Treatment for cauda equina syndrome usually involves a surgical intervention to relieve the compression on the nerves and restore normal function. The specific surgical procedure will depend on the underlying cause of the syndrome, such as discectomy (removal of the herniated disc), tumor removal, or decompressive laminectomy (widening the spinal canal). In some cases, emergency surgery may be required to prevent permanent paralysis or other irreversible complications.
Recovery from cauda equina syndrome depends on the severity of the compression and the duration of symptoms before treatment. Early intervention improves the chances of a better outcome. However, some individuals may experience long-term complications, such as persistent weakness, sensory deficits, or bladder and bowel dysfunction.