HNP MRI – Medical Imagery for Herniated Nucleus Pulposus

If your physician suspects that you may have a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), an MRI might be used to confirm the diagnosis. An HNP means the gel-like nucleus of an intervertebral disc has leaked through a tear or fissure in the fibrous outer wall of the disc. This can occur as a result of the natural wear and tear that happens as a person ages; a disc’s nucleus can lose water content and the wall can become brittle and weak. It also can occur at any level of the spine, but is most common in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions.

What an HNP MRI reveals

The image produced by an MRI machine reveals much more detail than an X-ray or a CT scan. A virtual “photo” of the internal anatomy is captured when revolutions of a magnet stimulate hydrogen atoms within the body. The energy emitted by the hydrogen atoms shows up on the image, revealing abnormalities, such as an HNP. A “positive” MRI result shows the extruded disc material as a dark mass, and this is the true value of an MRI – revealing the exact location and severity of nerve compression produced by a herniated intervertebral disc.

Treating HNP after a positive MRI result

HNP treatment after a positive MRI result and HNP diagnosis typically involves the use of conservative methods such as pain medication, physical therapy, targeted exercise, behavior modification and others. These non-surgical methods generally are effective at managing nerve compression symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. However, if symptoms remain chronic after weeks or months of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed using advanced technology may be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain.

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