Disc Regenerative Therapy (DRT) is a new and promising treatment choice for individuals suffering from chronic back pain caused by deteriorating discs. In the past, disc injury and degeneration have been treated with conservative measures such as ice and heat, pain medication and injections, and physical therapy and chiropractic care. When these protocols were ineffective, surgery such as disc removal with vertebral fusion was recommended and subsequently performed. DRT now presents an exciting option many people that may replace the need for an invasive procedure. DRT takes place in an outpatient location and requires less than 90 minutes from start to finish.
There are currently two different types of DRT available. The first method consists of injecting a solution having glucosamine and saline directly into the center of the disc. The liquid will cause the growth of new connective tissue (collagen), which will strengthen and support the injured disc.
The second technique involves harvesting an individual’s stem cells from their bone marrow or fat cells, and injecting them into the disc, as described below:
The individual lies face down on an exam table, while the physician numbs the stem cell withdrawal site with medication. Using X-ray (fluoroscopy) the physician guides a syringe with a needle to the correct location, then fills it with cell fluid. The syringe is then transported to the lab, and emptied into a centrifuge, which will separate the stem cells from the other material. Next, the stem cells are placed in another syringe and returned to the physician, who injects them into the degenerated disc.
A third technique, involving the use of disc cells is now being researched.
DRT may have the potential to promote healing that leads to permanent improvement. The advantages of DRT are that the discs are repaired instead of being removed, there is no need for metal or bone implants, and surgery can still take place when necessary.
If you suffer from back pain and would like to find out if you are a candidate for the treatment choices we offer, please call us at either our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.