The MRIs of my spine and my symptoms tell the doctor I have a herniated disc with cauda equina syndrome. I've been advised to have surgery right away. Do you agree with this idea?
Cauda equina syndrome refers to the symptoms that occur when there's pressure on the nerve roots below the level of the conus medullaris.
The spinal cord ends near the first lumbar vertebra. As it tapers to a point, it forms the conus medullaris. The bundle of nerve roots just below the conus medullaris is the cauda equina.
Cauda equina syndrome is caused by narrowing of the spinal canal. The result is pressure or compression on the nerve roots below the level where the spinal cord ends.
Cauda equina syndrome is usually a medical emergency. Surgical decompression is advised within 48 hours. The bone (lamina) is removed and then the disc is taken out to remove the pressure pushing against the spinal nerves. The goal is to reduce the chances of permanent neurologic injury.