Cauda Equina Syndrome

(CES; Compression of Spinal Nerve Roots; Syndrome, Cauda Equina; Spinal Nerve Roots, Compression)

Animation Movie AvailableRelated Media: Laminectomy

Definition

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is when the nerve roots at the base of the spinal cord are compressed. Known as the cauda equina, this bundle of nerves is responsible for the sensation and function of the bladder, bowel, sexual organs, and legs. CES is a medical emergency. If treatment is not started to relieve pressure on the nerves, function below the waist may be lost.
Cauda Equina
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

A common cause of CES is injury of a spinal disk on the nerve roots. A spinal disk is a semi-soft mass of tissue between the bones of the spine. These bones are known as the vertebrae. The disks act as the spine’s shock absorbers. When a disk spills out into the spinal canal, it can press against the bundle of nerves, causing CES. This syndrome may also be caused by:
  • Accident that crushes the spine, such as a car accident or fall
  • Penetrating injury, such as a knife or gunshot wound
  • Arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis
  • Complications from spinal anesthesia
  • Mass lesion, such as a blood clot
  • Complications from cancer
  • Side effect of certain medications

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of developing CES include:
  • History of back problems, such as lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Birth defects, such as a narrow spinal canal or spina bifida
  • Hemorrhages affecting the spinal cord
  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Spinal surgery or spinal anesthesia
  • Lesion or tumor affecting the spinal bones, spinal nerve roots, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • Infection affecting the spine
  • Manipulation of the lower back—rarely

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals



April 2015

A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.

dot separator
previous editions

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook