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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Spine and Back Health
Vacuum Disc Phenomenon
What does "A vacuum disc phenomenon is present at L2-3" mean? Thanks
Hello, thank you for your question. As a spinal disc degenerates (wears out), sometimes small gas bubbles form within the deteriorating cartilage. As these gas bubbles merge together, small pockets of this gas (basically nitrogen, similar to air) merge together. If you get enough of this, the little pocket of gas shows up on imaging studies, like x-rays or CT scans. It is simply one possible sign of a fairly degenerated disc, but doesn't have any more profound significance than that.
David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University