The surgical pathology of notochordal remnants in adult intervertebral disks: A report of 3 cases

Wei Lien Wang, Jerome H. Abramson, Aniruddha Ganguly, Andrew Rosenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


The notochord plays a critical role in organizing and directing vertebral development. In humans, most notochordal cells are eventually sequestered into the nucleus pulposus and disappear within the first decade of life. Although notochordal remnants and related lesions have been described in the axial skeleton of adults, their presence in intervertebral disks is rare. We describe herein 3 cases of incidental notochordal remnants identified in surgically removed adult intervertebral disks. Their histologic features were reminiscent of notochordal vestiges in the fetus. However, they raised the differential diagnosis of benign notochordal cell tumor and chordoma. Notochordal rests can be a source of diagnostic confusion and should be distinguished from notochordal neoplasms because they do not necessitate resection or other forms of therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1129
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Adult intervertebral disk
  • Benign notochordal cell tumor
  • Chordoma
  • Notochordal remnant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)

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