Annulus Fibrosus

What is Annulus fibrosus? What is the role it plays in our body, it’s importance, health issues associated with it? Lets get to know about theses details.


Annulus fibrosus is defined as a ring of fibrous tissue. It is the tough circular exterior of the inter-vertebral disc. Annulus fibrosus is composed of a gelatinous material that protects from herniating or leaking out of the disc by hydraulically sealing the nucleus and evenly distributing any pressure and force imposed on the inter-vertebral disc.

Annulus fibrosus refers to:

  • Fibrous ring of heart (Cordis)
  • Fibrous ring of inter-vertebral disc (Intervertebralis)
  • Annulus surrounding the tympanic membrane (Annulus fibrosus tympani)

The annulus fibrosus is the outer layer of disc that surrounds the gel -like nucleus pulposus (is the inner core of vertebral disc) inside the disc. It is structurally made up of collagen fibers together woven in strong layers in different angles. The spinal discs get their structure by annulus fibrosus, which enables the surrounding vertebrae for easy bending and twisting actions.

The elastic inner structure allows the vertebral disc to withstand forces of compression and tortion. Due to age, the spinal discs dehydrate and become stiffer causing the discs to be less able to bear the compression. The nucleus pulposus can herniate through the protective layer of annulus fibrosus, leaks out of the disc space and leads to the inflammation of nerve roots next to the disc.

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