JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Annular tear of intervertebral disc. Labelled artwork comparing a healthy L5-S1 intervertebral disc (upper left) at the base of the spine with one with an annular tear (lower right). Viewed from above, with the rear of the spine at bottom. This spinal joint consists of an intervertebral disc (grey) between the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5) and the first sacral vertebra (S1). The tear (red) in the exterior portion of the disc (the annulus fibrosus) has caused the interior of the disc to protrude and press on the thecal sac and also on the nerve roots either side (neuroforaminal narrowing). This level is below the spinal cord, with the thecal sac surrounding the cauda equina.
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