A twenty-six-year-old man was diagnosed with conus medullaris syndrome (CMS) after sustaining a traumatic L1 burst fracture. Surgical decompression and stabilization was performed within ninety-six hours of admission; postoperatively, normal bladder function rapidly returned.
CMS is difficult to diagnose because of the clinically variable presentation. There is no consensus regarding the natural history of conus medullaris injury or regarding the necessity, approach, or timing for decompression. Higher-level evidence is needed to guide treatment for acute traumatic CMS.
1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (A.K.B. and D.T.A.) and Department of Neurological Surgery (N.D.T.), Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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