The histology of lumbar intervertebral disc herniation. The significance of small blood vessels in the extruded tissue

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1993 Oct 1;18(13):1761-5. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199310000-00008.


Six hundred surgical cases of lumbar intervertebral disc herniation were evaluated histologically for the presence of blood vessels. These patients ranged in age from 12 to 77 years. Blood vessels were observed in 57 of 101 cases of complete prolapse type of herniated disc (56.4%), 12 of 32 cases of incomplete prolapse type of herniated disc (37.5%), and 53 of 467 cases of protrusion type of intervertebral disc herniation (11.3%). The presence of blood vessels in intervertebral discs was also investigated in postmortem specimens. Blood vessels were observed in 293 of 616 intervertebral discs (T10-L5), in individuals older than 40 years of age from 100 postmortem spines. The specimen age range was 16-89 years. Most of the blood vessels seen in the extruded tissue, exposed to the epidural space in cases of complete and incomplete prolapse type of herniation, are thought to have been newly formed after herniation occurred. As invasion of the intervertebral disc by blood vessels was found to occur with the advance of age, it is possible that such blood vessels become extruded with the intervertebral disc tissue. The intervertebral disc may herniate posteriorly in three basic patterns. The first pattern is "protrusion type of herniated disc." In protrusion hernia type there is abnormal posterior bulging of the anulus fibrosus. The disc pathology is predominantly nucleus pulposus, and the peripheral layer of the anulus fibrosus remains attached to the vertebral body bony rim, however.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / pathology
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc / blood supply*
  • Intervertebral Disc / pathology
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / pathology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology