Foraminal disc protrusion

Last revised by Mostafa El-Feky on 26 Jun 2021

Foraminal disc protrusions are an important entity to recognize for a number of reasons, these include:

  1. they are relatively easy to overlook as they do not impinge upon the spinal canal
  2. they do not narrow the subarticular recess, but compresses the exiting nerve root only, thus clinically mimicking a posterolateral disc from the level above. As posterolateral discs are common as is multilevel disease, missing a foraminal nerve root compression leading to only one level surgical decompression is a cause of failed back surgery
  3. as the compression occurs lateral to the normal surgical field, the prospective surgeon needs to be made aware of the protrusion's location to be able to adequately treat the lateral component. It may require altered surgical technique

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4: white arrow
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  • Case 5
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  • Case 6
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  • Case 7: L5/S1 level
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  • Case 8: L4/L5 foraminal disc prolapse
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  • Case 9: with concomitant spinal nerve sheath tumor
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