Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Cauda Equina Syndrome Treatment

Treatment for cauda equina syndrome depends on the cause. If an injury has caused a structure in the spine to place sudden pressure on the cauda equina, then surgery to repair the damaged structures and relieve pressure on the cauda equina must be performed within 6 hours. In addition, intravenous (IV) corticosteroids must be given promptly, usually within 8 hours of the injury. Emergent surgery is not required in a person who has a chronic condition that has resulted in slowly progressive pressure against the cauda equina.

Treatment options for cauda equina syndrome include:

  • Corticosteroids for cauda equina syndrome:
  • Surgery for cauda equina syndrome:
    • To relieve pressure on the cauda equina
  • Spinal fusion:
    • Bone grafts are used to bond two vertebrae together
    • This stabilizes the spine

Cauda Equina Syndrome Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of cauda equina syndrome.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
    • Is surgery an option for me?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • Do I need a special exercise program?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Will I need occupational therapy?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Cauda Equina Syndrome Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat cauda equina syndrome:

Continue to Cauda Equina Syndrome Warning Signs

Last Updated: Jun 6, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cauda Equina Syndrome References
  1. Binder DK, Schmidt MH, Weinstein PR. Lumbar spinal stenosis. Semin Neurol. 2002 Jun;22(2):157-66. [12524561]
  2. Hussain SA, Gullan RW, Chitnavis BP. Cauda equina syndrome: outcome and implications for management. Br J Neurosurg. 2003 Apr;17(2):164-7. [12820760]
  3. Jensen RL. Cauda equina syndrome as a postoperative complication of lumbar spine surgery. Neurosurg Focus. 2004 Jun 15;16(6):e7. [15202877]
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