Patients are looking for answers and reviews to help guide them through what has been a tough month for epidural steroid injection side effects. For example, in one recent study, steroid epidurals increased bone loss in post menopausal women by 600% after a single shot! Yikes! As a result, getting rid of the steroids in these shots should be top priority for patients and physicians alike. Today I’d like to share the outcome results of a patient who received the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure, which uses the patient’s own growth factors instead of harmful steroids. OH is a 29 year old active man who had already had undergone a failed L4-L5 microdissectomy procedure and failed 2 steroid epidural injections as well as extensive conservative care. While his low back surgery did help the radiating pain into his leg, it didn’t help his back; so at the time he was seen by Dr. Schultz in June of this year, he still had 4-5/10 low back pain. In addition, he still had a large disc bulge at L4-L5 on his MRI which was compressing the exiting right L5 nerve root. He underwent the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure in June and August of this year and now reports 80% clinical improvement. Despite the patient not being a candidate for spontaneous resolution of his disc protrusion due to the fact that he had already had one surgery and had a several year history of pain that wasn’t helped by prior injection based care, he responded to using his own growth factors. In addition, his MRI report from imaging taken after the Regenexx-PL disc procedure is above. What happened? First, there are two common terms seen on low back disc MRI reports-a disc protrusion and a disc extrusion. A protrusion means a bulge, while an extrusion means a herniated disc. In a disc bulge, the softer gel like material inside the disc places pressure on a damaged, but still intact outer disc wall, which causes it to bulge out. Oftentimes, disc bulges are static and don’t heal, in fact they mostly get worse over time. We’ve had good success getting rid of protrusions by using the Regenexx-C stem cell procedure and placing stem cells inside the disc using specialized tools. A disc extrusion is another story, as that’s when the soft gel inside the disc herniates outside the disc wall though a complete tear. Many times a disc “extrusion” will heal on it’s own, but other times it becomes a static feature. We have seen the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure get rid of these extrusions that had moved into the static phase (not resolving on their own), likely by increasing blood flow in the area. The PL-Disc procedure places healing growth factors in the area instead of toxic steroids. One of these growth factors is VEGF. Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor can increase blood flow by building new blood vessels. We believe OH is one such patient who benefited significantly from using his own growth factors versus harmful steroids.
NOTE: The Regnenexx-PL Disc procedure is a medical procedure and like all medical procedures has a success and failure rate. Not all Regenexx-PL Disc procedure patients will ecperience an 80% improvement.