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Connective Tissue

Nucleus Pulposus (L5-S1)

Nucleus pulposus

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Anatomical Relations

The nucleus pulposus lies posterior to the center of the vertebral body. It is surrounded by the concentric lamellae of the anulus fibrosus.

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The nucleus pulposus acts as a shock absorber and permits a very limited range of movement between vertebrae. In the elderly, the nucleus pulposus is less jelly-like and it increases its fibrous content. Thus, they lose their flexibility and are more prone to injury (Waxenbaum and Futterman, 2017).


The nucleus pulposus is well developed in both the cervical and the lumbar spine. Postnatally it is a mucoid, gelatinous substance. Over time, collagen fibers from the internal surface of the anulus fibrosus invade and eventually form a gel-like, fibrocartilaginous tissue characteristic of mature intervertebral discs.


Waxenbaum, J. A. and Futterman, B. (2017) 'Anatomy, Back, Spine, Intervertebral Disc.', Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.

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Nucleus Pulposus

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Internal disk disruption is a phrase used to describe derangement of the internal architecture of the nucleus pulposus, annular fibers, or both, which is accompanied by little or no external deformation.

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