Disc Prolapse And Spondylosis

Intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers ^

A tough outer layer - the annulus /MI1IP F^W

fibrosis surrounds a softer central nucleus ------*.'•.j | w^a puip°sus- ima iiii

Discs degenerate with age, the fluid Ml^PRi I I' p^SS?

within the nucleus pulposus gradually ft^" I li Ii^^N-H drying out. Disc collapse produces excessive strain on the facet joints, i.e. the Transverse process superior and inferior articulatory processes ^___ >

of each vertebral body, and leads to Superior articular facet degeneration and hypertrophy.


An acute disc prolapse occurs when the soft c nucleus herniates through a Facet joint | tear in the annulus and may > 0

result from a single or f\VW

repeated traumatic —

incidents. Herniation usually occurs laterally and ^K

compresses adjacent nerve '*•

roots, but may occasionally -

occur centrally, compressing the cauda equina.

A 'free fragment' of the nucleus pulposus may extrude and lie above or below the level of the disc space.

Associated hypertrophy of degenerated facet joints is often a further source of back and leg pain and is an important cause of root compression.

Compressed nerve root

Inferior articular facet

Spinous process

Lateral j disc protrusion

Compressed roots within cauda equina

Central disc protrusion

Disc protrusion

Hypertrophied facet joint

Root compression

Facet joint malalignment


Facet joint degeneration and hypertrophy

Compressed nerve root

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