Spontaneous regression of sequestrated lumbar disc herniations: Literature review

Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2014 May;120:136-41. doi: 10.1016/j.clineuro.2014.02.013. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Lumbar disc herniations (LDH) may regress with conservative management; however, this phenomenon is poorly understood for the sequestrated subtype of LDH. We present one of the first comprehensive literature reviews specifically addressing the spontaneous regression of sequestrated intervertebral discs. We reviewed all publications with lumbar disc herniations, sequestrated subtype. Our results were then narrowed to patients who experienced spontaneous regression of the sequestration. Based on our literature review of 53 cases, patients with sequestrated lumbar disc herniations experienced symptomatic resolution in a mean of 1.33±1.34 months and radiographic resolution in 9.27±13.32 months. Symptomatic patients with sequestrated discs present similarly to those with other types of lumbar disc herniations. Sequestrations may have the highest likelihood to radiographically regress in the shortest time frame in comparison to the remaining subtypes of LDH. The most likely mechanism for regression is an inflammatory response elicited against the free fragment. Patients with disc sequestrations may be managed conservatively, in the absence of intractable pain, inability to walk, weakness or symptoms suggestive of cauda equina syndrome.

Keywords: Disc; Herniation; Lumbar; Regression; Sequestrated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / physiopathology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Remission, Spontaneous*