A lumbar intervertebral disc with a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) often exhibits a decrease in the height of the intervertebral space. Our purpose was to ascertain whether the loss of volume of an HNP is sufficient to cause a perceptible decrease in the height of the intervertebral space. MRI of 44 patients with 51 HNPs were reviewed. The volumes of the herniated material and of the intervertebral discs were calculated for every level from L1-2 to L5-S1. The average volume of the HNP was 503 ± 301 mm3. The average volumes of all 220 intervertebral discs and of the 127 normal-appearing discs were 14,442 ± 4200 mm3 and 17,476 ± 2885 mm3 respectively. The average volume of the HNP represented 3.5% of the parent disc. An average HNP caused a decrease in intervertebral space height of 0.35 mm (0.56 pixels). Therefore, the loss of the volume of the HNP does not cause a significant decrease in the intervertebral space height. The average calculated decrease in the disc height is less than that reported in normal diurnal variation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Nucleus pulposus, herniated
- Spine lumbar