Cauda Equina Syndrome
(CES; Compression of Spinal Nerve Roots; Syndrome, Cauda Equina; Spinal Nerve Roots, Compression)
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- History of back problems (eg, lumbar spinal stenosis)
- Degenerative disk disease
- Birth defects (eg, narrow spinal canal, spina bifida )
- Hemorrhages affecting the spinal cord
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Spinal surgery or spinal anesthesia
- Lesion or tumor affecting the spinal bones or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
- Infection affecting the spine
- Possibly, manipulation of the lower back
- Severe low back pain
- Numbness, tingling in crotch area (called saddle anesthesia/paresthesia)
- Inability to urinate, or to hold urine or feces
- Inability to walk, or dragging of foot
- Weakness, loss of sensation, or pain in one or both legs
- Sexual dysfunction (eg, in men, inability to get an erection )
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the brain and spinal cord
- CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head and spinal cord
- Myelogram —imaging test that uses a special dye to view the spinal cord and the area surrounding it
- Electromyography —measures and records the electrical activity of a muscle
- Surgery options:
- Radiation therapy —If CES is due to cancer, radiation therapy may be an option.
- Difficulty walking
- Problems with bladder and bowels
- Sexual dysfunction
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Incontinence specialist (if you have lost bladder control)
- Bladder and bowel difficulties
Cauda Equina Syndrome Resource Center http://www.caudaequina.org/
National Spinal Cord Injury Association http://www.spinalcord.org/
Canadian & American Spinal Research Organization http://www.csro.com
Spinal Injury Foundation http://www.spinalinjuryfoundation.org
Cauda equina syndrome. American Association of Neurological Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient%5Fe/cauda.asp . Accessed October 31, 2008.
Cauda equina syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 2008 . Accessed December 2, 2008.
Cauda equina syndrome. EBSCO Rehabilitation Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/nrc-about . Updated July 2008. Accessed November 10, 2008.
Cauda equina syndrome (CES). Neurosurgery Today website. Available at: http://www.neurosurgerytoday.org/what/patient%5Fe/cauda.asp . Updated November 2005. Accessed November 19, 2008.
Hussain IF. Cauda equina damage and its management. In: Fowler CJ, ed. Neurology of Bladder, Bowel and Sexual Dysfunction. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1999.
Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. 28th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005;328;1892.
Your orthopedic connection. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00362&return%5Flink=0 . Accessed October 30, 2008.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/26/2012 -