Recovery from Cauda Equina Syndrome
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. The spine is a complex structure made up of numerous parts consisting of bones, blood vessels, and nerves. Depending on the level of the vertebrae, the nerves that exit the spinal canal can perform very different functions. Damage to these nerves can lead to serious loss of motor and sensory function.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Spinal cord injuries are always severe. Based on recent statistics from the Spinal Cord Injury Center:
- There are over 17,000 new spinal cord injuries annually. This could include disc herniations, nerve transactions, or paralysis. This does not include those who die at the scene of an auto accident.
- More than 200,000 people are living in the United States with a spinal cord injury.
- Since 2010, motor vehicle accidents were the cause of close to 40 percent of all new spinal cord injuries. Slip and fall injuries follow at around 30 percent.
- Around a third of these injuries result in the paralysis of two or more limbs.
- The average age of most of these individuals is around 40 years old at the time of the injury.
- Based on these statistics the average cost of a spinal cord injury for someone injured at age 25 falls between $1.5 and $5 million over the course of a lifetime. The range is wide because the severity of the injuries leads to differing costs.
There are many different types of spinal cord injuries and some are more serious than others. One of the more severe injuries is termed Cauda Equina Syndrome, which can cause some serious symptoms.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina is an emergent injury of the spinal cord. In this injury, an outside force compresses on the bottom part of the spinal cord as the nerves start to exit from the protection of the bony vertebrae. This section of nerves is termed the Cauda Equina because the shape of the nerves resembles that of a horse’s tail. Symptoms of Cauda Equina include:
- Severe low back pain.
- Incontinence of the bowels.
- Incontinence of the bladder.
- Pain that radiates down the legs.
- Numbness of the genital region.
How does Cauda Equina Syndrome Occur?
This syndrome can arise from a number of causes. For example, a cancerous tumor can press on the nerves. Another common cause is a disc herniation from a traumatic event, such as an auto accident. If this happens, the disc could start to press on this bundle of nerves, leading to Cauda Equina Syndrome and all of the symptoms that are described above. Sometimes, this injury could be overlooked if the individual has sustained other injuries, such as a case of polytrauma, however, the treatment of this injury is a surgical emergency so rapid identification is important.
Treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Once someone has been diagnosed with this serious spinal cord injury, the next step is emergent surgical decompression. The individual will be taken to the operating room where a surgeon can relieve the pressure surrounding this part of the spinal cord. Once this traumatic injury has been repaired, the recovery process can begin. The time to make a recovery will depend on:
- The severity of the injury.
- The quality of the operation.
- The presence of comorbidities, such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.
What most people are concerned about is the nerve damage. Some nerve damage may fade while completely transected nerves will be lost permanently. This recovery process can be stressful for a family and could place their finances in dire straits. Families with concerns should reach out to an experienced legal team to review all of the options available to them.
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Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Personal Injury Lawyer in Sacramento. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury to the spinal cord you may call me at (916) 921-6400 to receive friendly, free advice. You can also call our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400.
I am pleased to be in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
You can look at my verdicts & settlements here.
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