An Axial (Cross-Section) MRI showing a large HNP on the left. MRI scans are done while lying on the back and the display is as viewed when looking up from the foot of the bed. Thus the left is on the right of the image.

As noted in the caption above, MRI displays can be confusing, but they usually have an L and an R on the image to indicate the left and right sides. Most HNPs go off to one side or the other due to a continous reinforcing ligament along the back of the vertebrae running in the middle from top to bottom. In this photo, the HNP is the large, round, dark signal that is displacing the dural sac containing spinal nerves and spinal fluid. The fluid is white and the little black dots are spinal nerves.

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