Author(s): Hussain SA, Gullan RW, Chitnavis BP
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Abstract A retrospective review of all patients who had surgery for cauda equina syndrome (CES) due to a herniated lumbar disc between January 1996 and November 1999 was undertaken. All underwent laminectomy and discectomy, and had been admitted as emergencies with cauda equina syndrome. Ten women and 10 men with a mean age of 45 years (range 33-67) had their diagnosis verified with MRI in 19 cases and CT in one case. Only half the patients had been catheterized at the time of admission to the neurosurgical unit. Nine patients had emergency decompressive surgery within 5 h of presentation to our unit. The others had surgery on the next available list, but within 24 h of admission. No difference was found between urgently operated patients and those operated on the next available list when urological outcome and quality of life assessments were made using a validated questionnaire at a mean time of 16 months after surgery (range10-48). Twenty per cent of a control group who had undergone laminectomy and discectomy for large disc herniations, but without CES had new urological symptoms when questioned postoperatively, but similar quality of life status. Emergency decompressive surgery did no significantly improve outcome in CBS compared with a delayed approach.
This article was published in Br J Neurosurg
and referenced in Journal of Spine