New techniques to treat a herniated disc

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Anti-inflammatory treatments are not always enough to relieve pain. Discogel injections, ozone injections, endoscopic surgery, implants ... new techniques are emerging to treat herniated discs.

Very often, the sciatic crisis leaves painful memories. It is caused by a herniated disc, a small growth that compresses a nerve. Most often, the problem is with the lumbar vertebrae.

Classic hernia treatment is based on pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, supplemented with corticosteroid infiltrations. If no improvement is seen after 6 to 8 weeks, alternative solutions may be offered.

But reducing or eliminating the hernia is not enough to solve the underlying problem, often related to poor posture. Strengthening the back muscles is always necessary, regardless of the technique used.

Discogel and ozone injection to reduce pain.

First solution: Discogel

Under local anesthesia and under radiological control, a needle is inserted into the intervertebral disc to inject alcohol gel. “This gel spreads in areas of weakness. It reduces the pressure inside the disc and reduces the inflammation, "said professor Jacques Théron, a neuroradiologist. The pain disappears in a few weeks. This injection is carried out in a single session, on an outpatient basis (without the need for hospitalization).

Another solution: ozone injection

Ozone is a gas derived from oxygen that has an anti-inflammatory effect. The intervention is performed on an outpatient basis, under radiological control. This technique, still poorly developed, is less expensive than Discogel. Scientific studies evaluating the effectiveness of ozone injection are still insufficient. In practice, there are over 70% good results.

Surgery is performed only as a last resort, except in emergencies (foot paralysis, morphine-resistant pain ...). It affects less than 10% of patients with sciatica. The intervention, under general anesthesia, consists of decompressing the nerve by removing the hernia, with 90% of good results in pain.

A new method of endoscopy is being developed. Surgical instruments are inserted through a small 5mm incision made in the side. "This will allow us to generalize outpatient interventions."

An implant to regenerate the disc.

An Inserm team recently announced promising results with an implant made of fibrous laminae. In animals, it regenerates the tissues of the intervertebral disc. It remains to be tested on humans.

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