A posterior central disc protrusion occurs when the inner gel-like material of a vertebral disc pushes against the outer disc wall. This may cause the disc to bulge outward from its normal anatomic position within the spinal column. A “posterior central” protrusion is one that pushes straight toward the back (away from the abdomen). This directly sets up the protrusion to potentially press upon the spinal cord.
A healthy intervertebral disc has a strong, fibro-elastic wall containing many layers. This resilient disc wall is designed to hold the soft inner material of a disc in place. The wall also helps the disc maintain its cylindrical shape. However, due to accidents, injuries and age-related changes, the outer wall of a disc can deteriorate, making the discs susceptible to deformation and/or tearing.
In the case of a posterior central disc protrusion, the wall of the disc has not torn open, but it has weakened to the point of allowing inner disc material to bulge out. This may be a precursor to rupture. Even before rupturing, however, any disc protrusion or bulge may encroach upon the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal nerves. This is ultimately what causes painful disc protrusion symptoms.
In some cases, patients may not respond to conservative treatment and surgery could be suggested. It is reasonable for these individuals to determine the least invasive, most efficacious surgical treatment possible. Please consider the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, which offers effective procedures with shorter convalescent periods and fewer risks than traditional open spine surgeries. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information.