Letters Cauda equina syndrome

Urinary retention

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1727 (Published 29 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1727
  1. Chris E Uff, SpR in neurosurgery1
  1. 1Royal Free Hospital, London NW3 2QG
  1. chrisuff{at}hotmail.com

Lavy and colleagues do not mention that urinary retention in cauda equina syndrome is painless because the bladder is totally denervated.1 Once the bladder reaches maximum capacity, urine will dribble out as overflow incontinence, which patients will also not feel. Painless urinary retention is the cardinal sign of the syndrome2 3: without it …

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