Studies have shown that a damaged disc is often the source of low back pain. Unfortunately, the disc is regularly overlooked in the non-surgical management of low back pain. The disc causes pain either because of internal disc disruption (tears in the disc wall, referred to as annular tears), or disc degeneration as we age. Traditionally, the only treatment for a painful disc has been surgical fusion (destruction of the disc and placement of rods and screws in the spine and/or an inflexible spacer between the vertebrae in place of your own flexible disc). However, recent developments in regenerative medicine offer a promising alternative to spinal fusion. Autologous (from your own body) concentrated fibrin disc sealant is proving to be an effective treatment for painful discs and should be considered prior to choosing fusion surgery, which is much more invasive.
What is it and how does it work?
Autologous Concentrated Fibrin Disc Sealant is a novel non-surgical technique used for the treatment of painful, leaky discs. Dr. Wolff has worked over the last ten years to develop a specialized method of concentrating the products from your own blood to create a disc sealant with regenerative properties that can be injected into your disc. A sample of your blood is taken and processed to concentrate fibrin (which is part of the normal clotting cascade), along with other potent anti-inflammatory and growth factors. Then, using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, this concentrated solution of fibrin is carefully injected into the damaged area of the disc and mixed with an activating agent to turn on the healing process. The combined factors fill the painful tears in the disc wall (the annulus) and seal them. The fibrin and growth factors combine to facilitate healing of the disc by repair of damaged disc tissue and stimulating growth of new tissue. This provides increased strength and stiffness to the disc wall and also helps to stave off or even reverse degeneration. Ultimately, this results in a healthier, less painful disc and improvement in a patient’s low back pain.
What to expect during and after fibrin disc sealant treatment
This minimally invasive procedure takes about one hour and is performed in our state of the art surgery center. The patient receives a local anesthetic and has the option of mild IV conscious sedation to ensure maximum comfort and during the procedure. A needle is advance, using fluoroscopic visualization, into the disc and autologous fibrin concentrate, PRP, and anti- inflammatory factors are injected, filling the gaps/tears in the disc.
It’s normal to be sore for a few days after the procedure. Both the level of discomfort and the recovery time are minimal, and both are significantly less than than you would experience after a spinal fusion surgery.
You will have some downtime that could range from a few days to a few weeks depending upon your condition and number of discs being treated.
You may have some work restrictions for several days to weeks depending upon the area being treated and the type of activity your work requires.
You will likely have some restriction from sports activities for a few weeks to months depending of the condition being treated, its severity, and the sport involved.
You may take mild pain medications as needed for several days after the procedure if you experience pain.
Most people begin to improve after several weeks and continue to have improvement progressively anywhere from three to six months afterwards.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, click here or call us today at (480) 860-8998.