Cauda equina syndrome: a comprehensive review

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2008 Nov;37(11):556-62.


Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare syndrome that has been described as a complex of symptoms and signs--low back pain, unilateral or bilateral sciatica, motor weakness of lower extremities, sensory disturbance in saddle area, and loss of visceral function--resulting from compression of the cauda equina. CES occurs in approximately 2% of cases of herniated lumbar discs and is one of the few spinal surgical emergencies. In this article, we review information that is critical in understanding, diagnosing, and treating CES.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cauda Equina / pathology*
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods
  • Emergencies
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / complications
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery
  • Polyradiculopathy / diagnosis*
  • Polyradiculopathy / physiopathology
  • Polyradiculopathy / surgery