A vertebral end plate is the transition region where a vertebral body and intervertebral disc interface with each other. A vertebral end plate is commonly described as consisting of 2 layers:
- Cartilaginous layer (also called cartilaginous endplate) that fuses with the disc
- Thin layer of porous bone (also called bony endplate) that attaches to the vertebra
Nutrients pass into the intervertebral disc through the vertebral end plate. The cartilaginous layer of the vertebral endplate also helps maintain the form and function of the disc.
Damage to the vertebral end plate may cause pain and speed up disc degeneration. When a discectomy surgery is performed, the vertebral end plates are removed along with the disc.