Objectives Data regarding long-term outcomes following surgery for cauda equina syndrome (CES) is scarce, especially concerning bowel and sexual function. This study aimed to assess long-term bladder, bowel, sexual and physical function in a CES cohort.
Subjects A pre-existing ethically approved database was used to identify patients who had undergone surgery for CES between August 2013-November 2014.
Methods Patients were contacted over a one month period and completed validated questionnaires via telephone. These assessed bladder (Urinary Symptom Profile), bowel (Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction Score), sexual (Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale) and physical function (SF-12). Patients were also asked which of their current symptoms they would most value treatment for and which NHS services they had accessed post-operatively.
Results Forty-six of 77 patients (response rate 72%, inclusion rate 59%) with a mean age of 45 years (21–83) and mean time since admission of 43 months (range 36–60) took part in the follow up study. The prevalence of bladder dysfunction was 76%, bowel dysfunction 41% with the majority (87%) reporting very minor symptoms, sexual dysfunction 39% and physical dysfunction 48%. Pain was the most deleterious current symptom in 57% but only 7% reported post-operative pain-management referral.
Conclusions These findings confirm the high prevalence of long-term bladder, bowel, sexual and physical dysfunction in CES patients and provide useful data to guide the expectations of patients and clinicians.
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