Regression of herniated nucleus pulposus: two patients with lumbar radiculopathy. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Regression of herniated nucleus pulposus: two patients with lumbar radiculopathy.
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1989 Nov ;70(12):842-4. PMID: 2818158
Thirty percent to 95% of patients with lumbar radiculopathy secondary to a bulging or herniated disc improve to a pain-free and functional level with nonsurgical treatment. What happens to the herniated disc material as this improvement occurs is unclear. We present two patients with lumbar radiculopathy documented by physical examination and electrodiagnostic testing. Both patients had herniated disc material at the L5 to S1 level on computed tomography (CT) scans corresponding to the side and level of their lesion on physical examination and electrodiagnostic testing. In both instances, the radiculopathy resolved with conservative treatment. CT scans were repeated in three months on one patient and four months on the other. The scans showed major resolution of the herniated disc material in both patients. These two cases demonstrate that in some patients with proven radiculopathy secondary to herniated nucleus pulposus, the herniated disc material will no longer be visible on CT scan and is presumed to resorb as the symptoms abate.