Schmorl's nodes

Kwaku A. Kyere, Khoi D. Than, Anthony C. Wang, Shayan U. Rahman, Juan M. Valdivia-Valdivia, Frank La Marca, Paul Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Introduction First described in 1927, a Schmorl's node (SN) is the herniation of nucleus pulposus (NP) through the cartilaginous and bony end plate into the body of the adjacent vertebra. SNs are common findings on imaging, and although most SNs are asymptomatic, some have been shown to become painful lesions. In this manuscript, we review the literature regarding the epidemiology, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, imaging, and management of SNs. Materials and methods Using databases from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, relevant articles were identified. Results While several theories regarding the pathogenesis of SNs have been proposed, an axial load model appears to have the greatest supporting evidence. Symptomatic SNs are thought to be due to the inflammatory response solicited by the herniation of NP into the wellvascularized vertebral body. Management options for symptomatic SNs vary, ranging from medical management to surgical fusion. Conclusion SNs are common lesions that are often asymptomatic. In certain cases, SNs can cause back pain. No consensus on pathogenesis exists. There is no established treatment modality for symptomatic SNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2115-2121
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Review
  • Schmorl's node
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Schmorl's nodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this