Although computed tomography (CT) has been shown to be useful in diagnosing posterolateral and central lumbar disk herniations, its effectiveness in demonstrating lateral herniated disks has not been emphasized. The myelographic recognition of those herniations may be difficult because root sheaths or dural sacs may not be deformed. A total of 274 CT scans interpreted as showing lumbar disk herniation was reviewed. Fourteen (5%) showed a lateral disk herniation. The CT features of a lateral herniated disk included: (1) focal protrusion of the disk margin within or lateral to the intervertebral foramen; (2) displacement of epidural fat within the intervertebral foramen; (3) absence of dural sac deformity; and (4) soft-tissue mass within or lateral to the intervertebral foramen. Because it can image the disk margin and free disk fragments irrespective of dural sac or root sheath deformity, CT may be more effective than myelography for demonstrating the presence and extent of lateral disk herniation.