Conus Medullaris Syndrome and Cauda Equina Syndrome have similar symptoms and can cause it to be difficult to distinguish between the two. Despite similarities, the two spinal cord injuries often manifest themselves in different ways. The chart below compares and contrasts Conus Medullaris Syndrome and Cauda Equina Syndrome to showcase some of the key differences:

Conus Medullaris Syndrome Cauda Equina Syndrome
Causes
There are many causes. The most common is through severe
trauma to the lower back caused by auto accidents, gunshot wounds, falls, or
hard blows.

There are many causes. One of the most common is a central
herniated disc.
Vertebral level
L1-L2.

L2-Sacrum.
Spinal level
Injury of the sacral cord segment (conus and epiconus) and
roots.

Injury to the lumbosacral nerve roots.
How it presents itself
Suddenly and affecting both sides of the body.

Gradually and affecting one side of the body.
Pain level
Mild to moderate

Severe
Numbness
Tends to be more localized to the area around the anus.

Tends to be more localized to the “saddle” area (around
buttocks and inner thighs). There may also be numbness in the public areas.
Impotence/Sexual dysfunction
Frequent.

Less frequent.
Motor skills/Weakness
Normal motor function to mild/moderate weakness.

Weakness to flaccid paralysis.
Reflexes impacted
Achilles (ankle jerk) reflex.

Patellar (knee jerk) and Achilles reflexes.
Treatment
There is no single treatment. Depending on testing
results, treatment may include surgery, radiation, antibiotics, and physical
therapy

There is no single treatment. Depending on testing
results, treatment may include surgery, antibiotics, and physical therapy

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately to prevent further damage. You can learn more about Conus Medullaris Syndrome and Cauda Equina Syndrome on our blog or injury advice page.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with either condition, you may have a personal injury case. If so, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lipkin & Higgins to discuss your option.

Sources: SpinalCord.com and Medscape.