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Report says disc protrusion with large right posterolateral extruded disc fragment with caudal migration. Meaning ?

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My husband was diagnosed with a "Disc protrusion with large right posterolateral extruded disc fragment with caudal migration" What does this mean, and what is the treatment involved?
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations regarding the findings of the imaging study.

the imaging report has revealed some swelling and bulging of one of the disks in his back. this swelling can sometimes put pressure on certain nerves. This pressure and nerve compression can sometimes lead to symptoms including back pain or numbness and tingling.

It appears also that a tiny portion of the disc seems to have moved from where it generally sits between the bones of the spine. It has moved higher up in the spinal canal. This may be something which can be observed. Often physical therapy and medications can be used to avoid surgery.

If the orthopedic surgeon believes that his symptoms will not improve unless a surgical intervention takes place then he may need a specialized surgery. Generally these surgeries are performed by highly skilled surgeons.

The necessity of surgery will really depend on the degree of symptoms which he is experiencing now as well. I would suggest that if his symptoms are only minor and are not disabling that surgery should be avoided in favor of physical therapy.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
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