What does Conus Medullaris mean?

Latin for medullary cone, the conus medullaris is a bundle of spinal cord nerves that have a tapered end, located near the first two lumbar vertebrae (L1 and L2) in the back. The conus medullaris ends at the cauda equina, where the spinal cord is terminated and the bundles of nerves & nerve roots are no longer protected.


What is Conus Medullaris Syndrome?

Typically caused by an incomplete spinal cord injury, or when there is a loss of sensation below the area that was injured, conus medullaris is a product of trauma. This syndrome presents itself much differently than its similar counterpart, cauda equina syndrome. Characterized by severe lower back pain and impotence, conus medullaris syndrome produces abrupt symptoms on both sides of the body and is less likely to cause paralysis than other types of spinal cord injuries.


What are the symptoms of Conus Medullaris Syndrome?

Following a spinal cord injury, symptoms of conus medullaris syndrome develop rapidly and on both sides of the body by presenting:

  • Weakness or tingling in your lower limbs
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Incontinence
  • Severe back pain
  • Abnormal sensations in your back


What is the primary cause of Conus Medullaris Syndrome?

Developing as an after-effect of an incomplete spinal cord injury, conus medullaris syndrome isn’t a disease in its own right, but the product of trauma to the spinal cord. The potential causes of conus medullaris syndrome are:

  • Severe trauma to the lower back such as a gunshot wound, hard blow, or involvement in a car accident
  • Spinal cord infections
  • Spinal tumors
  • Abnormalities of the spinal column


How is Conus Medullaris Syndrome diagnosed?

Stemming from a previous spinal cord injury, conus medullaris syndrome is diagnosed by a medical professional through an MRI of the lower back and spine. The severity and type of injury sustained prior to diagnosis is all taken into consideration when identifying this condition. Depending on its cause, spinal decompression surgery, radiation, and antibiotics can be used to treat the symptoms. In addition, physical therapy is also necessary to regain function.


If you or a loved one has experienced a diagnosis with conus medullaris syndrome, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lipkin & Apter to learn more today.