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Spine Surgical Procedures

Learn about what is involved with a minimally invasive microdiscectomy procedure for a slipped disc or herniated disc in your lower back.

An intervertebral disc is a kidney-shaped structure located between each pair of vertebrae. They are designed to redistribute forces incurred by the spinal column when sitting, standing or lifting.

The intervertebral disc is composed of two types of cartilage. There is an inner semi-liquid cartilage (nucleus pulposus) surrounded by several layers of fibrous rings of cartilage (annulus fibrosis). Together they form a self-contained unit.

The intervertebral disc is strong and stable. When an object is lifted, the force is transmitted directly onto the semi-liquid center and then redistributed radially to the outer fibrous rings. As the force is redistributed, the rings resist deformation. It is this combination that enables the disc to act like a shock absorber.

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