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Pathology

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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In cervical disc prolapse, part of the gelatinous nucleus pulposus may protrude through a vent in the annulus fibrosis at its weakest part (posterolateral) or part of the annulus itself may be displaced.

A slight protrusion bulges against the posterior longitudinal ligament and causes local pain in the neck.

A larger protrusion may herniate through the ligament and impinge upon the nerve leaving the spinal canal at that level - a posterolateral prolapse, or upon the spinal cord itself - a central prolapse.

Healing usually proceeds by shrinkage and fibrosis of extended material over time rather than by its reposition within the disc. Secondary effects of the lesion are the acceleration of degeneration and predisposition to the development of spondylosis.

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