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Understanding the problem

The nucleus pulposus is the gel-like inner material found within the thick, outer walls of the discs, which are soft, sponge-like bodies responsible for providing support and flexibility between the vertebrae along the entire length of the spine. Due to the gradual deterioration of these discs over time as part of the natural aging process, these discs can develop a tear and the nucleus pulposus may push through the disc wall and extrude into the spinal canal – a condition known as a herniated nucleus pulposus.

A herniated nucleus pulposus can occur on any disc in the spine, but most frequently appears in the cervical spine (in the neck region) and the lumbar spine (in the lower back). These areas of the spine are particularly susceptible to disc injury because of their weight-bearing responsibilities and the repeated strain they endure from regular use over the years.

Understanding who suffers

While there are several factors that can lead to developing a herniated disc, there are two main causes:

  • Age - An HNP typically occurs as the result of a degenerative condition that can develop as a patient ages. Our necks and backs receive continued stress and pressure from the weight of our bodies, and this can cause intervertebral discs to break down (or degenerate) over time.
  • Overexertion - This spinal condition can also occur in younger patients who are overweight, participate in high-impact sports or continually lift heavy objects.
Potential Signs and Symptoms

Interestingly, HNP does not in itself result in any symptoms beyond localized disc pain. Only when the nucleus pulposus compresses a nearby nerve or the spinal cord do the more serious symptoms arise. They can include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Pain traveling the length of a nerve
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Loss of reflexes
Examinations Usually Required

When symptoms are present, a physician or back specialist will usually take an account of the patient’s medical history to assess if other factors (such as a history of obesity or an especially strenuous occupation) could contribute toward the development of a herniated disc or other spinal condition.

A physical exam to test strength and reflexes will typically follow. Some diagnostic tests may also be required, which could include one or more of the following:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • A discography
  • An MRI
  • A CT scan

These diagnostic tests allow the physician to view the spine in detail and accurately determine what is compressing on the pinched nerve and, if it is a herniated nucleus pulposus, what has caused it to happen.

Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons

AIMIS' skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment

Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
  • Can I get more information before I commit to this?
  • Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
  • How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:

AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide. AIMIS’s mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.


AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.

Further information on the problem:

Symptoms of the types of herniated nucleus pulposus

Cervical nerve roots, labeled C1-C8, that become inflamed by a herniated nucleus pulposus can cause the corresponding symptoms:

  • C1 and C2 – There is no intervertebral disc between the first two cervical vertebrae (C1 and C2), but if the nerve roots in this area are affected by disc herniation between the next pair of cervical vertebrae (C2 and C3), symptoms could include a tingling discomfort in the neck and base of the skull, problems with neck and head mobility, headaches and pain in the temples
  • C3 and C4 – Pain at the base of the neck, a pins-and-needles feeling in the upper shoulders or headaches behind the eyes and ears
  • C5 and C6 – Weakness or pain that radiates through the upper arms, biceps, forearms, wrists and thumbs
  • C7 and C8 – Numbness, weakness or a pins-and-needles sensation that travels through the triceps, hands and fingers

Lumbar nerve roots, labeled L1-L5, that become compressed by a herniated nucleus pulposus can cause the corresponding symptoms:

  • L1 – Weakness or tingling in the groin or upper thigh areas
  • L2 – Pain around the mid-thighs and buttocks
  • L3 – A pins-and-needles sensation or numbness in the knees and distal thighs
  • L4 – Weakness or tingling in the buttocks, thighs, knees, lower legs and big toes
  • L5 – Radiating pain through the legs, buttocks, feet and toes
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups

A number of different factors can contribute to the gradual degeneration of the intervertebral discs that cushion and support the spine. This pathologic process is known as “degenerative disc disease,” and it can eventually lead to HNP and other related conditions. Some cases are idiopathic, which means that no direct cause is known. Even healthy people can develop a herniated disc or HNP. There are some known risk factors that contribute to this condition. Among them are:

  • age
  • obesity
  • lack of physical activity
  • cigarette smoking and
  • alcohol abuse.
Why AIMIS for this Surgery

AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.

Other Services Provided by AIMIS

In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you'll know the best flights to take, where you'll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become "part of our family" and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.