A gel injection containing alcohol in the intervertebral disc that treats herniated disc is called discogel. This gel helps keep the alcohol in the area and prevents the disc from moving; the presence of the gel in the pain area causes the hernia to drain. When the hernia is discharged, the fluid that exits goes to the inner and central part of the disc, thereby the pressure from the patient’s spinal cord or nerve were removed. In this treatment, the main pains disappear very quickly. But discomfort may persist for a couple of weeks after treatment.
Does the patient get general anesthesia in this treatment?
Only a light sedative is used for the injection of discogel, purely to relieve the anxiety of the patient …! Occasionally, local anesthesia may be performed to prevent pain. In this type of anesthesia, the patient is calm and alert. No general anesthesia is needed for discogel injection. Generally, general anesthesia should be used less frequently because of possible complications.
How long does a discogel injection last?
Most of the time, the discogel is injected on an outpatient basis and, the patient can be returned home on the same day.
What is the mechanism of discogel?
The water-insoluble gel precipitates and dissolves in the disc to create a soft, flexible prosthesis. When discogel is injected, the gel finds its way into the disc gap to reach the hernia (even if it is distant from the injection site). Extraction of fluid into the hernia by discogel injection reduces pressure and reduces nerve stimulation (disk decompression). Therefore, the activity of potential anti-inflammatory molecules in the disc stops and this process results in pain relief.
How long does it take after discogel injection to improve?
Recovery usually occurs between 1 and 2 weeks after injection. Does this treatment reduce the height of the intervertebral disc? This method does not affect the height of the intervertebral space and, preserves the spinal anatomy.