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Spine and Back Health

Disc desiccation

09/25/2003

Question:

What causes disc desiccation in a person under 20 years of age? Can it be caused or accelerated by trauma? How long does it take for this condition to be able to manifest itself on an MRI?

Answer:

Disc desiccation is considered to be a natural aging process of the intervertebral disc space. The cause of early disc desiccation is unknown, although, it is felt to be multifactorial involving genetics and possibly trauma or chronic repetitive injury. 

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Response by:

Anthony Guanciale, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Spine Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati