The spine is forced to withstand forces in many directions repeatedly each and every day. Even walking places stress on the spine. The discs found between each of the vertebrae in the spine are especially susceptible to injury. Spinal disc injuries can come in various forms, with two of the most common being disc herniation and degenerative disc disorder. Treatments for these injuries can vary as well, but two common options are discectomies and The Discseel® Procedure.
The Anatomy of Intervertebral Discs
Intervertebral discs are composed of two layers: a soft, gel-like inner layer called the nucleus pulposus and a tougher, fibrous outside layer known as the annulus. The annulus helps to provide support for the disc, and the inner layer helps to provide a cushion with various movements, such as bending, twisting, or compression.
With degenerative disc disorder, the entire disc can begin to dry out and the outer layer may crack. This can make the entire spine less effective at absorbing forces and may cause the discs to shrink down in height. This can lead to pain with certain movements. The nerves coming out of the spinal column can also become pinched, leading to radiating pain or numbness in the arms and legs.
Treatment with Discectomies
Discectomies try to eliminate back pain by literally removing a portion of or the entire spinal disc that is injured. This procedure can help to eliminate some of the pain caused by the damaged disc, especially that related to nerve pain. However, there are many downfalls to this treatment as well.
A discectomy is an invasive spinal procedure that requires patients to undergo a time-consuming procedure and to stay in the hospital for a day or two under supervision following the surgery. Recovery time for these surgeries can also be up to a month or more depending on the severity of the injury. If you are looking to return to work where you are required to operate heavy machinery or lift heavy objects, the total recovery time can last for up to three months.
The risk of re-injury is also quite common with this procedure. One study noted that up to 25 percent of patients had a re-herniation of the affected disc. Even if another herniation did not occur, 10 percent of patients had to undergo a further operation to try to relieve pain levels. Subsequent discectomies can be even more difficult to complete as well due to the buildup of scar tissue from the initial surgery.
The Discseel® Procedure as an Alternative Option
This treatment option also works to improve spinal disorders and back pain stemming from the intervertebral discs, but it is able to do so in a minimally-invasive way. This procedure utilizes a 100% natural biologic called fibrin to help regrow damaged spinal tissues, preserving them without removing them. By maintaining the intervertebral discs, reinjury is less likely to occur and pain management is able to be more effective.
This procedure utilizes an injection directly into the damaged disc with the use of image guidance to ensure accuracy. The fibrin portion of the injection is able to serve as a glue in the disc, helping to seal off any damages that have occurred in the outer annulus layer, such as tears or cracks. This sealing helps to eliminate any future herniations and can reduce pain caused by an initial herniation.
The second component of the injection is a biologic, which is composed of a number of stem cells and growth factors. Stem cells have the ability to create new tissue, allowing them to regrow cartilage that has been broken down in the discs. This can increase any disc height that has been lost due to deterioration. The growth factors help to increase blood flow and bring other cells to the damaged area to speed up the healing process.
All in all, this procedure works to repair damaged discs by stimulating growth from the inside out and is able to concentrate its efforts due to the disc sealing provided by the fibrin. This injection has been shown to relieve pain symptoms relating to disc disorders at an extremely high rate, and it has a 70 percent success rate on patients who have already undergone a previous procedure to treat their spinal issue. This makes The Discseel® Procedure a great alternative to a discectomy, which involves a much more invasive spinal procedure.