When the disc herniates, that's part of the process of disc degeneration. It happens to almost everybody as they age (some sooner than others). The gel doesn't regenerate once it has been squished out. The changes are permanent. The disc space becomes smaller - there is less space between vertebrae as the disc degenerates. That is one reason why older people often lose height, and why sometimes after multi-level fusions people regain a few inches in height.
Discs can heal. For those with DDD that are drying out, it may harden and stop leaking, and quit breaking down further, but it will not regenerate and restore itself back to "normal".
Can DDD be contained? Not sure what you define as containment. But there is no cure for DDD nor can you prevent it. But you can keep yourself and your spine as healthy as you possibly can to help keep your spine from further injury. Still no guarantee.
DDD happens to us all. It's basically the aging process of our spine. But for some it causes us pain and can also lead to trauma and serious spine issues.
With all respect to Cythren. I am sure she did not mean to say that disc herniations happen to us all and that DDD will make this happen. Disc herniations can be caused by many factors and does not happen to us all. DDD can indeed increase the odds for a disc herniation/bulge to occur, as they disc is no longer fully healthy when DDD occurs. But DDD does not automatically lead to disc herniations/bulges. I just want to clarify that to anyone that is new to learning about this and doesn't yet understand things overly much.
Hope this helps. Take care.
"believe in the beauty of your dreams"- E. Roosevelt
L5/S1 bulging @ 18, now 46; still there (but no pain)
Fusion at L4/L5 Apr -2006
Solidly Fused Nov-2006
A Success, but still improving!
It is my impression that as the disc heals from herniation it ultimately comes back as scar tissue. Being a 24 year old female and already coming across a herniated disc and a diagnosis of DDD, I know it is hard to hear that your disc will probably never be the same again. Although it may never be as strong as it once was in the past, that doesn't mean that life is over. You can still do most of the things you once did. Most people's best bet is learning proper posture, trying not to do any real heavy lifting and strengthening your core to prevent severe future problems.
I do believe that most of us, pain-free or not, will eventually (if MRIs were to be made of a random sampling of the population) have abnormalities of the spine such as ddd, arthritic changes and disk bulges by the time we are in our 70s or 80s.
To answer the original question about gel though, no, from everything I've read it does not grow back. The disk gradually "degenerates". The space between vertebrae gradually narrows as part of the process of disc degeneration. Bulges/herniations/ruptures or whatever else you want to call them are part of the process of degeneration of the disk, although yes - disks can also degenerate without bulging.
Here's one study, just one example, with findings that make me write what I did above "Abnormal magnetic-resonance scans of the lumbar spine in asymptomatic subjects. A prospective investigation.
...There was degeneration or bulging of a disc at at least one lumbar level in 35 per cent of the subjects between twenty and thirty-nine years old and in all but one of the sixty to eighty-year-old subjects..."