Specialized Discogel Treatment

Specialized Discogel Treatment

Discoplasty constitutes the most modern and bloodless discopathy treatment method, either in Cervical, or in Lumbar spine. It is a minimally invasive surgical technique.

Dr. Stylianos N. Kapetanakis
Orthopedic and Spine Surgeon MD, FRCS, PhD Priv. Consultant Spine Surgeon Ass. Professor at Medical School of Democritus University of Thrace

What is discoplasty with Discogel?

Discoplasty constitutes the most modern and bloodless discopathy treatment method, either in Cervical, or in Lumbar spine. It is a minimally invasive surgical technique.

This method includes the percutaneous infusion of a special gelatinous material (which consists of ethyl alcohol, cellulose and radiopaque substance- Discogel) within the intervertebral disc which has been undergone degeneration. General anesthesia is not required whereas the intervention is not bloody at all. Local anesthesia is applied in the entry points of the special fine needles.

The substance is injected in the destructed disc under fluoroscopic monitoring with special machines. That allows the surgeon to retain control throughout the operation.

How does Discogel act?

The injected in the disc centre drug exerts an osmotic effect, absorbing gradually hernia’s liquid material from the periphery to the centre of the nucleus. A new disc nucleus is by this way reconstructed, decompressing parallely the hernia and consequently the pressure that it exerts. Furthermore, Discogel seals any crack of disc integument (fibrous ring) occurring due to its degeneration. By this way the exit of inflammatory substances to nerve roots is inhibited. Because of this action, the correct medical term for this method is “ Nucleolysis” since in essence it destructs nucleus pulposus of the intervertebral disc.

In which cases can Discogel be applied?

The technique of discoplasty can be for the treatment of intervertebral disc hernia not only in the neck, but also in low back applied. One of its many comparative advantages is that it enables simultaneous treatment of not only one, but also two, three or more suffering discs. An extra advantage of this method is that it can be combined with anesthetic and cortisone infusion is vertebral joints, something that I usually do in my cases. Patient is thus in one session able to confront permanently a chronic problem which influences intensely negative his personal and professional daily routine.


When technique is applied in the framework of correct indications success rates are over 75%. The extremely important advantage of this method is that it constitutes a minimally invasive surgical technique, applied by local anesthesia, allowing the patient to return to his house the same day of operation.

Which are the advantages of this method?

The advantages of percutaneous discoplasty with Discogel for the treatment of problems concerning intervertebral disc hernia are many and obvious. It is indicatively referred:

  • The technique is percutaneous and does not concern surgery.
  • Patient is not required to receive anesthesia.
  • There are not surgical incisions, hemorrhage, inflammation risk or stitches that must be removed.
  • There is the ability to treat more than one disc.
  • Patient needs not to be hospitalized and can leave hospital after completion of the infusion.
  • According to recent studies up to 90% of the patients underwent Discoplasty avoided heavier and more painful surgical operations in the future (for example spinal fusion).

Which are the disadvantages of this method?

Disadvantages, if they can be considered disadvantages, contain the fact that the procedure is conducted under a little only local anesthesia, and, as a result, patient has perception of everything that occurs.

When do patients exit from the hospital?

The whole procedure does not last over 15 minutes and the patient leaves clinic after 3-4 hours. Heavy works must be avoided in the first week and he returns to normal life without pain. I just reexamine him in one month, in two months and in six months after the operation.

How much does the operation cost?

The operation cost is not forbidden, compared with the difficult economic conditions of our time. I would support that it in contrary is affordable for the majority of our fellowmen. When, on other side, this amount is with spinal fusion compared, one can understand that it approximately corresponds to 1/3 – 1/4 of spinal fusion price.

What is your opinion about the future use of Discogel?

Listen, this is a new method. It counts a follow-up of 5 years and the results are particularly encouraging. Having the opinion of its use in abroad but also in Greece, I believe that it constitutes the revolution in field of Spine Surgery. In fact and according to the physiology of material’s act it can deterrent a future surgical intervention.

Which is people’s percentage that can undergo this method?

According to studies a percentage of 70-80% of the people will present lumbago (low back pain) in one period of their lives. If this is due to the intervertebral disc then with minimum limitations (for example broken disc) the patient can undergo this method, provided that the symptoms insist for some time.

Do you recommend it as a bloodless and minimally invasive method?

With appropriate patient selection, I would say that I strongly recommend it to patients coming to my infirmary in Thessaloniki and in general to patients from N.

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