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Disc Extrusion

The spine is one of the most vital parts of the human skeleton due to its’ critical role in health and wellbeing. It supports the motion of the human body and also houses the central spinal nerves, which branch out at different exit points in the spinal canal to form the peripheral nervous system. Thus, the spine and its constituent parts must be kept in good health. One of those parts is the intervertebral discs positioned between the spinal vertebrae members. A medical condition that can adversely affect these discs is disc extrusion. Disc extrusion is one of the most common types of spinal cord injury. This disorder might result in back or neck pain, discomfort, and even more complex symptoms like sciatica, pinched nerves, radiculopathy, or myelopathy.

What is disc extrusion?

Commonly known as herniated discs, disc extrusions are caused by a weakened disc wall, or annulus fibrosus, rupturing due to age or injury. This outer wall is what keeps the soft, jelly-like center of the disc contained, creating a type of cushion for the vertebrae to bend and move freely. When a disc becomes ruptured or herniated, an annular tear occurs, allowing the jelly-like center to spill into the spinal cavity causing irritation, inflammation and pinched nerves. 

What causes disc extrusion?

Several conditions can cause disc herniation, each of which can affect the joints alone or in combination. Wear and strain on the spine are the most common of these reasons. The cartilage connecting the spinal discs to the vertebral bones can lose elasticity as people age. Accidents or falls can sometimes result in herniated discs due to immediate impact and trauma.

Where disc extrusion can occur in the spine

A typical disc extrusion can be seen in the spinal segments with the most extensive range of motion and sustain the most body weight. Neural or nerve root impingement can be caused by disc herniations in various parts of the back. Nerves exiting at a specific level, such as the C6 nerve root at the C5-C6 cervical segment and the L5 nerve root at the L4-L5 segment, are impinged by extruded discs in the cervical and lumbar spine.

The thoracic spine has the lowest risk of disc extrusion of all the spine segments. Because the cervical and lumbar spines have a more extensive range of motion than the upper back, discs in this section are less prone to injury.

Cervical disc extrusion

C4-C5 disc extrusion

The C4-C5 cervical disc provides stability for the neck while shielding the C4 and C5 vertebrae from injury. As a result, over time, natural wear and tear may appear. The cartilaginous ligaments that connect the disc to the vertebrae may become less flexible over time, allowing it to rupture at any time.

Damage to the C2-C5 motion segment, including the C4-C5 disc, can lead to degeneration, disc herniation, trauma, and neurological disability.

C5-C6 disc extrusion

Several injuries and disorders can affect the C5-C6 disc, owing to its role as a crucial intervertebral member that supports the two ‘stress’ vertebrae that sustain the head’s weight.

The C5-C6 segment of the spine is one of the most vulnerable to disorders caused by poor posture, such as constantly bending the head forward, also known as “forward head posture.” When this position is maintained for long periods, the natural cervical curve of the lower neck straightens, putting pressure on the intervertebral discs and surrounding nerves. Forward head posture is the syndrome that frequently leads to a herniated disc in the C5-C6 disc.

C6-C7 disc extrusion

At the junction of the C6 and C7 cervical vertebrae, the C6-C7 disc is created. Disc extrusion in the C6-C7 disc frequently occurs as a result of cervical spine trauma or injury. The C6-C7 motion segment supports the weight of the skull and the rest of the upper neck. It connects the cervical and thoracic spines and is the most mobile section in this zone. Although herniation can occur in the C4-C5 and C5-C6 segments, the C6-C7 segment is the second most vulnerable to disc extrusion, inducing nerve impingement and inflammation.

Lumbar disc extrusion

The L5-S1 spinal segment, also known as the lumbosacral joint, is a vital zone between the lower back and the pelvis where the spine transitions from lumbar to sacral. Natural spinal curvature changes from a forward bend to a backward curve in this motion segment. Through this joint, weight is carried from the back to the legs. Two of the most pinched nerves in the lower back are the L5 and S1.

Symptoms of disc extrusion

Disc extrusion symptoms will vary based on what segment of the spine is affected. Herniated discs in the cervical and lumbar spine produce different symptoms. Inflammation of the nerve roots that govern motion in these areas is common, resulting in pain in the shoulders, legs, neck, and back. When a herniated disc pinches a nerve, it affects the sensory and motor areas related to the nerve root in general. As a result, people with a herniated disc may find it challenging to carry out simple everyday duties.

Most of the time, such individuals lose sensation in certain portions of their bodies, such as their arms, palms, and fingers. All of these symptoms might be bothersome and inhibit daily activities.

Diagnosis of disc extrusion

Patients typically feel some form of tingling, numbness, loss of motion, or pain from the source of the extrusion. When these symptoms radiate down into the arms or legs, it may be nerve-related irritation or compression often caused by herniated discs. The physician will need an MRI to assess the structure and integrity of the spine. A physical exam is necessary to detail the origin of the pain and the severity of symptoms. In cases where surgery is needed to repair the suspect disc, a discogram will be required to further confirm the location of the problematic disc.

Treatment of disc extrusion

Disc extrusions have been safely treated with surgery for years. The most common surgery used is spinal fusion. With spinal fusion, the goal is to remove the herniated part of the disc. This type of surgery is usually successful but often has a longer recovery time because it results in damage to the surrounding tissue.

Deuk Spine Institute uses a patented endoscopic spine surgery called Deuk Laser Disc Repair. Endoscopic spine surgery makes use of tiny surgical instruments with cameras at the end. Our unique technique allows a surgeon to remove only the herniated piece without interfering with the normal part of the disc. This minimally invasive procedure involves no metal implants, faster recovery time, and patients go home the same day.

Deuk Laser Spine Surgery

This revolutionary procedure is Deuk Spine Institute’s specialized alternative to dangerous invasive surgeries like spinal fusion or total disc replacement. The laser disc repair does not weaken or compromise the health and integrity of the spine. Our modernized approach to laser spine surgery has a 95% success rate with no complications in any patient over 15 years of performing this procedure and over 1,300 patients treated.


Deuk laser disc repair surgery is a form of endoscopic spine surgery performed in our state of the art surgery center under sedation while the patient relaxes. This procedure is performed endoscopically with a small 7mm incision. The surgery is virtually bloodless and takes 30 minutes per disc being repaired. You heard correctly, your own natural disc will be repaired so that it no longer causes you pain and the effect is permanent.

Through a ¼ inch incision, the injured disc is visualized using an endoscope and live imaging via a high definition camera attached to the spinal endoscope.

With this method, Dr. Deukmedjian carefully eliminates only the injured disc tissue causing pain and discomfort and leaves the rest of the patient’s own natural disc in place to preserve spinal motion and function. Fusions and artificial discs are not necessary because the patient’s repaired natural disc is left in place.

Deuk Laser Disc Repair uses a precision laser to vaporize the herniated tissue and provide the most effective laser spine surgery available. Bone and surrounding tissues are not damaged or removed during this procedure, unlike traditional microdiscectomy, artificial discs  and spinal fusions. 

Dr. Ara Deukmedjian uses FDA approved tools to access the disc through a natural space in the spine where he does not drill through bone as is done with microdiscectomy. Drilling through bone weakens the spine, which leads to future complications that may require fusion surgery.

Once the herniation and annular tear have been gently vaporized, the body can heal naturally. Irritation around the spine decreases, and neurological symptoms from nerve root pressure subside. In time, the disc functions as it did before injury and herniation.

After surgery, patients wake up to immediate relief and a surgical scar so small the surgeon can cover it with a Band-aid. Only a few drops of blood are lost and no hospitalization is required.

All 1,300 Deuk Laser Disc Repair surgeries done to date have been outpatient with a 1-hour recovery.

Why would anyone want invasive, dangerous surgery that works less than 50% of the time? In fact, when you really understand how Deuk Laser Disc Repair compares to traditional surgeries like microdiscectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion or total disc replacement, your mind is easily made. Traditional spine surgery is dangerous to your health and a risk that is unnecessary to take.  

Watch the video below to learn more about disc extrusions and how to treat them:

If you or a loved one is experiencing pain or other symptoms from a disc extrusion, contact Deuk Spine Institute today and learn why patients travel from across the US and around the world for treatment. Contact Us or give us a call at 1-800-FIX-MY-BACK.

Cure your back and neck pain once and for all.

Deuk Laser Disc Repair has patients back on their feet within an hour, feeling zero pain
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World leader in Laser Spine Surgery
With world-class physicians on staff, the newest and most advanced technology, and a patient experience pathway that is unrivaled in it’s efficiency and and pedagogy of care, Deuk Spine Institute has performed thousands of procedures and achieves a 95% success rate in elimination of pain.

 The services we offer are not offered anywhere else in the world, and the treatments are curative, not palliative.  On top of that, Dr. Deukmedjian is personally invested in the well-being of each and every patient, and has spared no expense to guarantee the best possible outcomes.
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