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Discseel: No spinal fusion needed

Between 60 and 80 percent of all Americans will have lower back pain at some point in their lives
Between 60 and 80 percent of all Americans will have lower back pain at some point in their lives(Ivanhoe Newswire)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 7:56 AM CDT
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PHILADELPHIA (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) – When back pain doesn’t quit, many patients face a spinal fusion but now, a new biologic solution that repairs torn discs and eliminates pain.

Between 60 and 80 percent of all Americans will have lower back pain at some point in their lives and annular tears are often the culprit. Annular tears are injuries that develop in the discs — the so-called “shock absorbers” cushioning the vertebrae in the spine. Now, orthopedic specialists are using a minimally invasive procedure to heal the tears in the disc.

Neil Bar spends hours on his feet and on his bike. He’s a triathlete and endurance training keeps him mentally and physically fit. He says it’s a test of the human spirit.

But more than two decades of chronic back pain caused by a congenital condition tested his limits. Then, four years ago, more pain but this time, it was very different.

“It was right on the bone, or right in the disc,” Bar says.

Neil had an annular tear in a spinal disc and the material inside his disc was leaking out, causing inflammation. Neil wanted to avoid a spinal fusion, which would have limited his movement. Sports medicine specialist, Brian Shiple, DO, recommended a regenerative procedure called the Discseel. Doctors take a synthetic material called fibrin and inject it into the damaged disc.

“It becomes like thick glue that they use to seal things instead of sutures,” Dr. Shiple explained.

The fibrin encourages the growth of new tissue, causing the disc tear to close so the pain goes away.

Dr. Shiple said, “At the two-month mark, he [Neil] was pain-free and training hard.”

Neil is preparing for his first post-COVID race with a back that feels as good as new.

“I’m back to just being thankful that I can get on the saddle without any pain,” Neil expressed.

Fibrin was first approved by the FDA for use in facial reconstruction, repairing the spleen, and controlling cardiac bleeding during surgery because it heals tissue that can’t be sutured. Fibrin is used off-label to repair discs. Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe drugs off-label when they feel it’s medically appropriate. The Discseel procedure is not covered by insurance, and it costs between $14,500 to $15,500 out of pocket.

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