Why use Autologous Fibrin Disc Repair?
Studies have shown that a damaged disc is often the source of low back pain. Unfortunately, the actual disc is regularly overlooked in the non-surgical management of low back pain. The disc causes pain either because of tears in the disc wall (referred to as annular tears) or disc degeneration, a natural process of aging.
Traditionally, the only treatment offered 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 natural flexible disc). However, recent developments in regenerative medicine offer a promising alternative to spinal fusion.
Autologous (meaning from your own body) concentrated fibrin disc repair, combined with PRP or stem cells, is proving to be an effective treatment for painful discs. This minimally invasive, natural treatment should be considered prior to choosing spinal fusion surgery.
What is Autologous Fibrin Disc Repair?
Autologous concentrated fibrin disc repair 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 products from your own blood to create a “disc sealant” with regenerative properties that can be injected into your damaged disc.
How does it work?
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. It is combined with your own platelet-rich plasma. Then, using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, this concentrated solution of fibrin is carefully injected into the damaged area of your painful disc. The combined factors fill the tears in the disc wall (the annulus) and seal them.
The fibrin and growth factors combine to facilitate healing the disc by repairing damaged disc tissue and stimulating the 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 your low back pain.
Sometimes stem cell product can be added into the injection, providing an additional anti-inflammatory and regenerative benefit.
What to expect during and after Fibrin Disc Repair 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 during the procedure. A needle is carefully advanced using fluoroscopic visualization into the disc and the autologous fibrin concentrate, PRP, and/or stem cell products 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 you would experience after spinal fusion surgery.
- You will have some downtime that could range from a few days to a few weeks depending on your condition and the 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 restrictions from sports activities for a few weeks to months depending on the condition being treated, its severity, and the sport involved.
- You may take mild pain medications, like Tylenol or mild narcotics that you will be prescribed, as needed for several days after the procedure if you experience pain.
- Most people notice an improvement in their symptoms within several weeks of the procedure. Progressive improvement may continue for up to six months.