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Eliminate the need for lumbar fusion.

By: Our Medical Team | May 18, 2024

Introducing the non-surgical Discseel® Procedure to “seal and heal” torn discs.

Ease of movement is something we take for granted until that split second when a passing twinge or low-decibel ache becomes impossible-to-ignore pain that sidelines us from the sports, hobbies, and everyday activities we love. Low back discomfort and range-limiting pain in the neck, arms and legs are often the result of damaged or degenerated spinal discs, which can affect anyone at any age, no matter how fit.

The cushions in the low back are called spinal discs, and annual tears in the disc are the most common cause of low back pain. We know that discs can be injured, degenerated, bulged, and herniated. The symptoms vary widely and can occur far from the spine itself as the fluid leaks from annular tears and inflames the adjacent spinal nerves. You may experience muscle spasms and tension, neuropathy, numbness in the extremities, pain that radiates to the buttocks and thighs, or even weakness in the feet and loss of balance. The pain may be severe one day and manageable the next, with days to months of reprieve between flare-ups. Whatever the case, if you’re in the throes of it, your quality of life will be affected.

Medicines, movement therapies and site-specific epidural, steroid injections may ease the pain temporarily, but they do not address its cause. Spinal surgery such as lumbar fusion, discectomy and artificial disc replacement comes with its own set of risks and often lengthy recovery. There is, however, another option, even for those who’ve had prior surgery yet continue to experience pain and limited functionality.

Intradiscal therapies directed to the treatment of the disc itself, which seal and regenerate the disc, represent a potential cure to these debilitating conditions. Such conditions can be treated at the source of the problem with the Discseel® Procedure, a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment, ideal for individuals who suffer from chronic low back pain. The Discseel® procedure uses a fibrin biologic to seal and instigate healthy, new disc tissue growth where the tissue is torn to stop the disc from leaking and inflaming the nerves. Biologic therapies are a highly effective class of revolutionary, regenerative medicine that are based on naturally occurring proteins that encourage new healthy cells to regenerate. More than 7,000 of the Discseel® procedures have been performed to date with an 82% success rate in terms of pain reduction. Medical leaders have called this Discseel® procedure a “disruptive technology,” with enough importance to change the spine diagnosis and treatment paradigm.

As a result of his years of research in developing and safely performing intradiscal procedures, Southwest Spine and Sports’ Michael Wolff, MD, is one of the few physicians in the country to offer the Discseel® Procedure to seal and heal injured spinal discs. He was recently named the first Master Instructor for the Discseel® Procedure in the U.S. While the Discseel® procedure is not yet covered by insurance plans, several financing options are available through his practice. Generally, the procedure costs less than 25% of what a patient undergoing a spinal fusion would incur. Individual results will vary but most people typically need only one treatment to experience results.

Recovery times differ based on the location and severity of their injury. Many patients feel some relief several weeks following the procedure. The majority “turn the corner” in three to six months, though it may take some up to a year to experience full recovery. Dr. Wolff encourages all patients to begin walking in small spurts two to three days after the procedure, taking care to limit bending and twisting the spine and avoid heavy lifting during the initial recovery phase. Thereafter, a commonsense approach to resuming activities is recommended, beginning at a 10% level and increasing incrementally over time. Most people can return to work within three to five days as well.

Chief Medical Adviser and Director of Discseel Technologies Kevin Pauza, MD and his peers have won several NASS Outstanding Study Awards for their evaluation of surgical and non-surgical spine treatments, and they continue to investigate the efficacy of the Discseel® Procedure. Their research and Dr. Wolff’s can be found by scrolling to the Clinical Studies section on the Southwest Spine and Sports Patient Resources, Research and References page. You can also read more about the Discseel® Procedure and review frequently asked questions at soutwestspineandsports.com.