A 44-year-old lady with a history of lumbar back pain presented to the emergency department complaining of severe back pain radiating to her buttocks. Positive examination findings were a loss of sensation in the perianal area and 348 ml of retained urine. An urgent MRI showed compression of the cauda equina by a herniated disc. The patient was operated upon that evening, having a lumbar 5/sacral 1 decompression and sequestrectomy. During follow-up, the patient was reviewed by a consultant spinal surgeon, a urologist and our cauda equina nurse at every appointment, as per the cauda equina pathway specifically designed and implemented by our spinal unit. This report shows the complex nature of cauda equina syndrome and broad functional deficit patients can suffer from. It shows the benefits of prompt diagnosis and surgery, together with intensive, multidisciplinary follow-up and treatment, all of which are possible by a specially created, cauda equina protocol.
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