Histologic evidence of absorption of sequestration-type herniated disc

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996 Jan 15;21(2):230-4. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199601150-00014.


Study design: The reactions to sequestrated disc fragments, which were removed surgically from 35 patients, were examined histologically.

Objectives: To elucidate whether or not there is histologic evidence of absorption of sequestrated discs.

Summary of background data: Spontaneous disappearance or diminution of lumbar herniated discs in the spinal canal has been recognized, and this could be a possible explanation for relief of symptoms without surgery. The mechanism of this phenomenon is unclear.

Methods: Sequestrated discs removed surgically from 35 patients were examined histologically.

Results: In 30 cases, neovascularization was observed at the periphery of the sequestrated discs. Many foamy cells (macrophages) were present in the vascularized areas. In addition, immunohistochemistry revealed that many spindle-shaped, fibroblast-like cells were positive for CD68, a marker of macrophages. No fibrous scar formation was observed in any region.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that organization is not a main course for this type of herniated disc and that a kind of "absorption" process occurs predominantly in the healing stage.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / analysis
  • Female
  • Foam Cells / immunology
  • Foam Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / pathology*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Remission, Spontaneous


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD68 antigen, human