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Understanding Cauda Equina Syndrome

Last updated 2 years ago

Many serious conditions exist that require the services of an orthopedic surgeon in Arizona. One such problem that requires emergency surgery is cauda equina syndrome. If you aren’t familiar with this condition, read on to learn about the signs and symptoms of the disease, as well as when to seek medical help.

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome, also known as CES, is a rare condition that must be treated by an orthopedic surgeon quickly to prevent permanent damage. Delayed treatment of this nerve condition could cause incontinence or permanent paralysis of the legs. The affected nerves are located at the bottom of the spine and branch out in a pattern that resembles a horse's tail.

What Are Its Symptoms?

The symptoms of CES are similar to many other medical conditions, making early diagnosis by an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine doctor even more critical. Some of the symptoms of this condition include:

  • Severe lower back pain.
  • Numbness in the inner thigh area, buttocks, and upper legs, called saddle anesthesia.
  • Weakness in one or both legs.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, including being unable to void or becoming incontinent.

What Causes Cauda Equina Syndrome?

While cauda equina syndrome generally occurs in adults, children can also be affected. Some of the causes of CES include:

  • Ruptured lumbar discs.
  • Spinal stenosis.
  • Complications from an injury or accident to the spine.
  • Spinal tumors.
  • Birth defects.

What Are Treatment Options for CES?

Surgery by an orthopedic surgeon or other surgeon is necessary within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms to prevent permanent complications. The pressure on the nerves must be released, or paralysis can occur. If you suspect you may have CES, consult an orthopedic specialist right away.

For orthopedic surgeons in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe or Glendale, visit TOCA, The Orthopedic Clinic Association. Our specialists can help with treatment and rehabilitation of CES and other conditions. Call (602) 639-4027 to schedule an appointment today.


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