European Spine Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 2235–2239 | Cite as

Outcome of spinal decompression in cauda equina syndrome presenting late in developing countries: case series of 50 cases

  • Sarvdeep DhattEmail author
  • Naveen Tahasildar
  • Sujit Kumar Tripathy
  • Raj Bahadur
  • Mandeep Dhillon
Original Article


The purpose of this study is to find the clinical outcome of decompression of Cauda Equina presenting late in the course of disease. There were 33 males and 17 females with average age of 48 years, ranging from 25 to 85 years. All patients presented to us with a fully developed Cauda Equina syndrome (CES). All of them presented late with mean delay of 12.2 days. Time interval between bladder and bowel dysfunction and admission to hospital varied from 1 to 35 days. The average follow-up was 34.5 months, ranging from 12 to 60 months. There was no statistically significant difference in time of delay in surgery between the recovered and non-recovered group as tested by Student’s t test. But there was a statistically significant positive correlation between duration taken for total recovery and delay in surgery. Anal wink as a predictor of bladder and bowel recovery also showed statistical significance, as patients with an absence had a poorer prognosis for bladder recovery. The result of surgery in CES is not as dramatic and fast as seen after routine disc surgery. Some improvement can be expected with decompression even in those patients presenting late and results are not universally poor as previously thought. The treating physicians of such patients should be aware that the recovery in this group of patients can take an exceptionally long time and hence should involve in constant reassurance and rehabilitation of the patient. Presence of anal wink is a very good predictor of bladder and bowel recovery.


Cauda Equina Disc prolapse Delayed presentation Developing countries Anal wink 



We thank Mr John Getty for his intellectual support during the preparation of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarvdeep Dhatt
    • 1
    Email author
  • Naveen Tahasildar
    • 1
  • Sujit Kumar Tripathy
    • 1
  • Raj Bahadur
    • 2
  • Mandeep Dhillon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsPostgraduate Institute of Medical Education and ResearchChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.Department of OrthopaedicsGovernment Medical CollegeChandigarhIndia

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