Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a highly urgent situation requiring immediate medical care. CES is the result of inflammation or compression in the lower section of the spinal cord. The condition’s name comes from the horse-tail like appearance of the nerves that extend down into the legs and control movement and sensation in the lower extremities. CES in an infrequent occurrence in adults, and even more rare in children.
CES has several different causes, such as:
Symptoms of CES can occur acutely, or develop gradually over the course of weeks or months. Those to be aware of include:
Any individual experiencing a combination of the conditions listed above needs to seek prompt medical If CES treatment is delayed, it could lead to permanent damage.
A physician diagnoses CES by performing a thorough review of a person’s medical history and current symptoms, along with conducting a specific physical examination. Results from an MRI, myelogram and CT scan will help to confirm the findings.
Treatment for CES involves surgical intervention within 8 hours of the appearance of symptoms when possible. Lumbar laminectomy is the technique of choice, but a lumbar discectomy can also be considered based on the individual case. People experiencing spinal inflammation are started on high-level doses of corticosteroids to help control swelling.
CES is a severe medical condition, and treatment needs to be pursued quickly to provide the best opportunity of restoring function.