SAN DIEGO, Calif. (March 9, 2009)A minimally invasive interventional radiology treatmentthat safely and effectively uses oxygen/ozone to relieve the pain of herniated diskswill become standard in the United States in the next few years, predict researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 34th Annual Scientific Meeting. In a related study, the interventional radiologists examined just how ozone relieves the pain associated with herniated disks.
Back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work. While the pain of herniated disks can be severe, it can ease over time, and many people may no longer feel the need for medical care. However, in some, the pain from herniated (or ruptured or slipped) disks is intolerable or persists. "Having a herniated disk can affect how you perform everyday activities and can cause severe pain that influences almost everything you do; however, you don't have to undergo invasive surgery," noted Kieran J. Murphy, M.D., interventional neuroradiologist and vice chair and chief of medical imaging at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Oxygen/ozone therapy involves injecting a gas mixture of oxygen and ozone into a herniated disk. The treatment can limit pain and inflammation by reducing the disk's volume. Currently, open diskectomy and microdiskectomy (both involving removal of disk material through an incision) are the standards in surgical treatment for herniated disk. "Oxygen/ozone treatment of herniated disks is an effective and extremely safe procedure; interventional radiologists use imaging to guide a needle to inject oxygen/ozone into injured disks. The estimated improvement in pain and function is impressive when we looked at patients who ranged in age from 13 to 94 years with all types of disk herniations," explained Murphy. "Equally important, pain and function outcomes are similar to the outcomes for lumbar disks treated with
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Society of Interventional Radiology