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Glossary - D


decompression:  operation to relieve pressure on a structure


deep: Further away from the skin.


deep venous thrombosis or DVT:  A blood clot within a leg vein.


demineralized bone matrix:  A supplement to bone fusion made up of the fibrous proteins of bone.


demyelination:  The loss of the normal lining of an axon so that conduction of nerve signals is greatly slowed or blocked.


dens:  The portion of the C2 vertebra pointing upward.


dermatome:  An area of the skin innervated by a single spinal nerve root.


DEXA scan:  Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry used to assess bone density to diagnose osteoporosis.


diagnosis:  The identification of a medical condition that explains a patient's symptoms and predicts the necessary treatment.


diagnostic imaging:  The use of medical imaging to achieve a diagnosis.


discectomy:  Removal of all or part of a spinal disc.


discitis:  Infection within a disc space.


discogenic pain:  A pain syndrome deriving from an abnormal spinal disc.


discogram:  An injection used to evaluate the health of a spinal intervertebral disc, particularly to identify annular tears.


disc bulge:  An abnormal expansion on the margin of a disc, typically still well contained by the annulus.


disc herniation:  The escape of a portion of the nucleus pulposus through or partly through the annulus fibrosis.


distracting stimulus:  A sensory stimulation applied in order to distract the patient typically from pain carried by the same nerve.


dorsal:  Towards the back.


dorsal root ganglia:  A collection of neurons associated with the processing of sensory information. Found within the sensory portion of the spinal nerve, just as the nerve exits the spinal foramina.


dorsiflexion: Bending the ankle upward to bring the toes closer to the knee


double-blind randomized trial:  A type of medical research study in which neither the patient nor the physician knows whether a treatment or a placebo has been given.  Considered to help avoid bias in the evaluation of results of an experiment.


dura:  A hard, leathery membrane that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord.


dysphagia:  Difficulty swallowing.