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Slipped disc, MRI

Slipped disc, MRI

M330/1389

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Credit

DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Slipped disc. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the spine of a 75 year old woman with a slipped (herniated) lumbar (lower back) intervertebral disc. The back of the body is at right. The spine consists of blocks of bone called vertebrae. Adjacent vertebrae are cushioned by flexible pads of cartilage called intervertebral discs (oval at centre). The bony processes of a vertebra (black) are seen above and below the disc. The spinal cord (light area at centre right of disc) runs down the centre of the vertebrae. The disc here has ruptured and its internal jelly- like fluid has leaked (bottom right of disc) and is putting pressure on a spinal nerve that leads from the spinal cord. This can cause severe pain and paralysis. Most slipped discs heal with rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, although some may require surgery.

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