Measurements of the intervertebral disc space were made by magnetic resonance imaging and plain film examinations over a period of 2 years in 26 patients who had undergone chemonucleolysis. The height of the posterior portion of the disc decreased after 3 months and never recovered; the height of the anterior portion also decreased but recovered slightly over the same period. The angle of lordosis and the range of motion in the treated segment were decreased, but recovered. Marked decrease in signal from the disc was observed after 2 weeks which did not recover till 2 years after chemonucleolysis. We suspect that the disc degenerated markedly after chemonucleolysis and changed into a type of scar tissue, maturation of which could stabilize the affected segment. (orig.).