Lumbar Disc Herniation: Computed Tomography Scan Changes After Conservative Treatment of Nerve Root Compression

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In 21 patients with computed tomography-diagnosed lumbar herniated nucleus pulposus, nerve root pain resolved after conservative treatment. A subsequent computed tomography scan was performed 6 months or more after presentation. This follow-up computed tomography scan was compared with the initial one. A definite decrease in size of the herniated nucleus pulposus was observed in 14 patients: disappearance in 5, obvious decrease in 5, and moderate decrease in 4. No definite change was observed in seven patients. Major computed tomography scan changes occurred significantly more frequently in large herniated nucleus pulposus than in small ones (p. < 0.05). This study suggests that large lumbar herniated nucleus pulposus can decrease and even disappear in some patients treated successfully with conservative care.

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