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Disc Exploded Causing Cauda Equina Syndrome

Disc Exploded Causing Cauda Equina Syndrome

When a spinal disc explodes in the lumbar region of the spine, the fragments can press upon the nearby nerves, such as the cauda equina nerves. This can lead to a condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome must be treated quickly or long-term complications will arise. If you have been left with cauda equina complications because an exploded spinal disc was not diagnosed quickly enough, please get in touch with us today.

Exploded spinal disc

An exploded spinal disc is also known as a prolapsed disc, herniated disc, ruptured disc or slipped disc.

What happens is that the middle part of the disc (called the nucleus) bulges through a weakness in the outer shell. Therefore the entire disc does not slip out; rather, the inner part pushes through the outer part, pressing upon the surrounding structures.

The same thing happens with an exploded disc. However, there is an added complication because the bone splinters, sticking into the nearby tissues and nerves. These fragments of bone can cause excruciating pain.

Exploded disc in spine and cauda equina syndrome

Another consequences of an exploded or prolapsed disc is that it can cause a condition called cauda equina syndrome. This will occur if the disc slips or explodes in the lumbar spine, usually at the L4/5 level.

The disc or bone will press upon the cauda equina nerves, which are located at the bottom of the spinal cord. The cauda equina nerves serve the legs, pelvic organs and saddle area (buttocks, perineum and external genitalia).

When the cauda equina nerves are compressed, function will be adversely affected and the legs, pelvic organs and saddle area will not work properly. This will manifest in symptoms such as difficulty urinating, sexual dysfunction, weakness in the legs, and numbness around the buttocks, perineum and genitalia.

When these symptoms arise as a result of cauda equina nerve compression, someone is said to have cauda equina syndrome.

Treating an exploded disc

If an exploded disc causes cauda equina syndrome, the problem must be immediately identified and treated. An MRI scan will show that the disc has exploded. Surgery must then be performed as soon as possible to remove the exploded disc.

If this care is not achieved in time, the patient will be left with neurological issues such as: foot drop, leg numbness, leg ache, numb buttocks, incontinence and constipation. Therefore any sort of delay in medical care is very dangerous. If delays do arise because of medical error, there may be grounds for a compensation claim.

For more information on making a cauda equina claim, please get in touch with us today.

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