Acute postoperative cauda equina syndrome following an elective gynecological procedure

Conor Garry, Woojin Cho, Alan Job, Alok Sharan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a patient with cauda equina syndrome who presented immediately following hysterectomy. Intraoperative cauda equina syndrome is very rare, and to our knowledge, this is the first case reported following a gynecological procedure, which was unequivocally caused by a herniated intervertebral disc. A 72-year-old woman with a history of chronic low back pain and degenerative disc disease was referred to the orthopedic service after developing urinary retention, decreased rectal tone, and diminished bilateral lower extremity sensory and motor function following hysterectomy for the management of endometrial carcinoma. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a large central disc herniation at L2/3. Due to a delay in recognition of the progressive neurological deterioration that began immediately postoperatively, decompressive surgery was performed between 48 and 72 hours after the onset of symptoms. Emergent surgical decompression including laminectomy and microdiscectomy resulted in improved bowel and urinary function but no improvement in lower extremity strength or sensation. Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but devastating condition whose recognition and management requires vigilance, communication, and early surgical involvement. This case presents novel information that cauda equina syndrome can occur immediately postoperatively from disc prolapse during unrelated procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-128
Number of pages4
JournalIndian Spine Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • decompression
  • intervertebral disc displacement
  • postoperative complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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