Paracentral herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) describes a disc near the center of the spine that has torn open and has allowed the nucleus of the disc to leak into the spinal canal. This condition is often caused by the natural aging process of the spine, but can result from a sudden injury or trauma.
A closer look at the components of the diagnosis can make understanding the condition much easier:
- Paracentral — means situated near the center. More specific diagnoses may indicate “right” or “left” of center.
- Herniated — means that the inner material of a disc has ruptured through a tear in the tough outer wall of the disc.
- Nucleus pulposus — is the gel-like nucleus material in the disc that herniates into the spinal column.
On its own, a paracentral HNP does not cause symptoms, but can become painful if the herniated material from the disc comes into contact with the spinal cord or a nerve root. When this happens, pain relief can be found through nonsurgical or surgical treatments.
Causes of paracentral HNP
Paracentral HNP can be caused by an injury, but more often than not it is a result of the natural aging process. When we age, the discs that naturally cushion the spine begin to wear down by losing water content and elasticity. As these discs weaken, small tears can develop in the walls and allow the disc material to protrude into the spinal column.
Besides age, injury or trauma, additional causes of paracentral HNP include:
- Infection or disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with a paracentral herniated disc, your physician will most likely start your treatment with conservative therapy. Some of the most common conservative, nonsurgical treatments recommended include:
- Heat therapy
- Acupuncture or massage
- Physical therapy
- Pain medication or injections
If these treatments do not offer the pain relief you are looking for, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive spine surgery.
Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Every year, more patients turn to us for minimally invasive spine surgery than to any other surgery center in the world. Because our procedures are performed with a small incision, no muscle disruption and in an outpatient setting, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication and infection than found with traditional open back surgery.
Many cases of a damaged disc can be treated with a decompression surgery, which removes a small portion of the herniated disc in order to reduce pressure on the pinched nerve so the disc can begin to heal and rebuild. However, if the damage to the disc is beyond healing, a stabilization surgery may be necessary to remove the disc and insert an artificial one in the now-empty disc space.
To learn more about the advantages of the minimally invasive spine surgery used to treat a damaged disc, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We are here to help guide you along your journey to pain relief.