Herniated disc surgery
The spine is made up of individual bones known as vertebrae. Intervertebral discs are discs of cartilage that sit between the vertebrae.
The function of the intervertebral discs is to support the spine and act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae.
There are normally 23 discs in the human spine. Each disc is made up of three components:
Nucleus pulposus: This is the inner gel-like portion of the disc that gives the spine its flexibility and strength.
Annulus fibrosis: This is a tough outer layer that surrounds the nucleus pulposus.
Cartilaginous endplates: These are pieces of cartilage that sit between the disc and its adjoining vertebrae.
In a herniated disc, the annulus fibrosis is torn or ruptured. This damage allows part of the nucleus pulposus to push through into the spinal canal. Sometimes, the herniated material can press on a nerve, causing pain and affecting movement.
Each year, herniated discs affect around 5–20 of every 1,000 adults between the ages of 20 and 49 years old.
A herniated disc can occur anywhere in the spine. The two most common locations are the lumbar spine and the cervical spine. The lumbar spine refers to the lower back, while the cervical spine refers to the neck region.
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Journal of Orthopedic Oncology