A subligamentous herniation is one in which nucleus pulposus has extended through the annulus fibrosus, but has not gone through the posterior longitudinal ligament.
The term “herniation” is generally used when the nucleus has completely extruded through the annulus fibrosus and posterior longitudinal ligament.
However, it does not matter what the disc pathology is labeled, if it impinges upon, or irritates the neural components, it is a significant injury that will likely require some type of invasive procedure to correct.
The disc can either be injured by an immediate tear of the annulus fibrosus and extrusion of the nucleus pulposus during a traumatic event, or they can be the result of a much more gradual process. In order to understand the gradual breakdown of the disc, one must first understand a little of the physiology of a disc. The inner disc relies on exchange of fluid, nutrients and oxygen through the end plate of the adjacent vertebral bodies.
Therefore, if a disc injury is not evident until weeks or months after a traumatic event, it does not mean the injury was not a direct result of the traumatic event.
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