L5/S1 disc protrusion

Case contributed by Dr Derek Smith


Known mild L4/5 disc prolapse - not requiring intervention. Worsening left leg pain and woke with numbness and foot drop. Weak flexors and increased reflexes. Loss of sensation in left L5 distribution. Saddle sensation intact and decent post void volumes.

Patient Data

Age: 35
Gender: Female

1.  Large central disc protrusion at L5/S1 which is causing spinal canal and left lateral recess stenosis, compressing the cauda equina.
2.  Non-compressive small central disc protrusion at L4/5.
3.  Normal vertebral alignment. The bone marrow returns normal signal.
4.  Paravertebral structures normal.  Normal conus.


Large central disc protrusion at L5/S1 which is compressing the cauda equina.

Case Discussion

This young lady underwent emergency decompression of the L5/S1 disc protrusion (leading to cauda equina syndrome) with good post-operative results - return to normal mobility and sensation in left leg.

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Case information

rID: 34031
Published: 2nd Feb 2015
Last edited: 25th Apr 2017
System: Spine
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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