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Understanding the problem

A prolapsed disc is a condition that is commonly referred to in several different ways, including a ruptured disc, a herniated disc and a slipped disc. All of these terms are used interchangeably to indicate that a portion of a disc’s gel-like nuclear material has leaked out into the spinal canal through a tear or split in the disc’s layered, cartilaginous outer wall. This condition can occur at any level of the spine, but it is most frequently found in the lower back, where the lumbar vertebrae and discs bear much of the body’s weight, and where the body’s ongoing movements produce significant stress on the spine over time.

Disc degeneration often occurs in several stages, and disc prolapse takes place at a relatively early stage. When a disc becomes thinner, drier or weaker due to age or injury, it can begin to protrude beyond its normal position between the vertebrae. This condition can eventually lead to a full herniation, or tearing, of the disc’s outer wall and the subsequent extrusion of nuclear material.

Understanding who suffers

A traumatic spine injury can cause a prolapsed disc, but the condition is most often related to the normal wear and tear that occurs over time on the parts of the spine. While cumulative stress on the spine is inevitable, certain factors have been shown to increase the likelihood that an individual will develop a prolapsed disc, such as heredity, repetitive activity, prolonged inactivity, an unhealthy weight and smoking.

As part of the natural aging process, the water content within the discs slowly begins to diminish. When a disc becomes dehydrated, it loses flexibility and becomes brittle, and is less able to withstand the normal pressures being exerted by the vertebrae situated immediately above and below it. As a result, a chain reaction can occur in which the gel-like inner material (nucleus pulposus) of the compromised disc exerts pressure on the tough, fibrous outer wall (annulus fibrosus) that normally contains it. As pressure builds on the already weakened disc wall, its integrity can be compromised. A tear can begin to form - typically starting on the inside of the disc and working its way outward - and the inner-disc material can begin to force its way out through the opening, leading to a prolapsed disc.

Potential Signs and Symptoms

In many cases, a prolapsed disc is asymptomatic and remains undetected. However, if the extruded disc material irritates nerve endings in the disc’s wall or impinges an adjacent nerve root or the spinal cord itself, it can produce uncomfortable symptoms like localized discomfort and radiating pain, tingling, numbness, stiffness and muscle weakness.

The symptoms that arise when extruded disc material irritates or compresses sensitive neural tissue can manifest either locally or elsewhere in the body, depending on the area of the body affected by the compressed nerve root. There are 31 pairs of nerve roots situated along the spine - which spans from the neck to the coccyx (tailbone) - including 8 in the cervical region, 12 in the thoracic region, 5 in the lumbar region, 5 in the sacrum and 1 in the coccyx.

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:

Cervical region prolapsed disc

The nerve roots in the cervical spine send signals to the head, diaphragm, upper body, arms, wrists and hands. Therefore, a prolapsed disc in the cervical region can produce migraine headaches and other symptoms that affect the neck, shoulders, upper back, deltoids, triceps, biceps, forearms, wrists, hands, fingers.

Thoracic region prolapsed disc

The nerve roots in the thoracic spine send signals to the upper back, chest, torso and ribs. Because the thoracic vertebrae are relatively rigid, the discs in between those vertebrae are less susceptible to prolapse than those discs cushioning the more flexible vertebrae located in the cervical and lumbar regions. Nevertheless, when a thoracic disc prolapse occurs, it can produce symptoms that are very similar to the signs of other serious conditions, such as those affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal system. Therefore, a prompt and accurate diagnosis of the root cause of any form of chest pain, balance loss or abdominal discomfort is imperative.

Lumbar region prolapsed disc

The nerve roots in the lumbar spine travel to the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs, ankles, feet and toes. The highly flexible vertebrae in the lower back make the discs between them especially vulnerable to degeneration and disc prolapse. A prolapsed disc in the lumbar region that presses on spinal nerves can produce symptoms that affect the low back, hips, buttocks, legs, ankles, feet, toes.

Further Information on Increased Risk Groups

Prolapsed disc risk factors include:

  • Degenerative conditions
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Anatomical abnormalities
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking, participating in high-impact sports, or working in a job that requires a lot of standing and heavy lifting
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.