Using a bulging disc model that can show these lesions can be very helpful in getting patients to understand the differences with the different types of disc problems.
Interverterbal discs can bulge and can cause pain. Many people think a bulge and a herniation is the same but that is not true.
According to a recent paper published in The Spine Journal, a disc bulge is defined by the presence of disc tissue extending beyond the edges of the endplates of the vertebrae throughout the full circumference. See Figure 3
On the other hand, a disc herniation is a general term to explain both a focal or localized displacement of disc material which can include the nucleus pulposus, annulus fibrosus and/or the endplate. See Figure 4
Herniation can be further classified into:
This is the amount the material is sticking out. Migration is a term to explain the traveling of extruded material.
Intravertebral disc herniations, or Schmorl nodes, are perforations of the endplate into the vertebral body. This can be a superior or inferior lesion. See Figure 7
Educating patients about the differences is important. Using a bulging disc model that can show these lesions can be very helpful in getting patients to understand the differences with the different types of disc problems.
Accurate modeling engagement reassures the patient about the painful anatomy and helps in the plan of management moving forward.
We invite you to explore our roster of anatomical spine models to help speed up and facilitate doctor-patient communication of spine pathologies.
One of the biggest challenges I have had with my patients is helping them understand what is happening to their spine…..I recommend these models to all the docs I know! Keep up the good work!
-Dr. Raymond Uhlmansiek, D.C.