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Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor

Print version ISSN 1134-8046


TORRES, L.M. et al. Ozone discolysis in the treatment of sciatica due to a herniated disc: A 24-month follow-up of 100 patients. Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor [online]. 2009, vol.16, n.3, pp.147-152. ISSN 1134-8046.

Objective: We performed a retrospective study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of ozone discolysis in sciatica due to a contained herniated disc. Material and method: This study included 100 patients with symptoms of intense lumbosciatic pain, visual analog scale (VAS) > 6 and onset more than 3 months previously, who were unresponsive to analgesics and systemic corticosteroids for a minimum period of 1 month and who showed signs of radicular pain and radiation to the affected dermatome. The radiological inclusion criteria consisted of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of a contained herniated disc. The treatment applied consisted of the following: a first session with epidural administration of 10 ml of ozone at 30 μg/ml, 4 mg of triamcinolone and 5 ml of bupivacaine 0.25% plus paravertebral administration of 10 ml of O3 at 30 μg/ml, 4 mg of triamcinolone and 5 ml bupivacaine 0.25% on the affected side; a second session between 7 and 10 days after the first, consisting of the same treatment; and a third session with intradiscal administration of 10-20 ml of O3 at 50 μg/ml plus prophylactic antibiotic therapy. Analgesic efficacy was evaluated at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months through VAS and radiological evaluation with MRI at 3, 12 and 24 months. A result was considered: a) excellent when the patient was asymptomatic and able to fully return to work and resume physical exercise and VAS decreased > 70%; b) good when the patient had occasional back or sciatic pain, with complete return to work, occasional use of analgesics and VAS decreased > 40%, and c) poor when there was insufficient symptom improvement, daily medication intake, limitation of physical activity, change of work and VAS decreased by > 40%. P values of < 0.05 were considered signifi cant. Results: Of the 100 patients, 91 could be evaluated at 24 months (52 men and 39 women). Age ranged from 26 to 77 years with a mean age of 52±7 years. By order of frequency, the vertebrae affected were L4-L5 (49%), L5-S1 (41%), L3-L4 (9%), other vertebrae (11%). By month, an excellent result was obtained in the following percentages of patients: 1 month 95.6%; 3 months 91.3%; 6 months 90.7%; 12 months 87.7%; 2 and 24 months 81.1%. MRI showed a significant reduction in hernia volume in 79% of the patients. A second discolysis was required by five patients who were excluded from the study. There was one case of discitis and 11 cases of postpuncture headache (all in patients with L5-S1 discolysis) and four cases of lumbar pain requiring analgesic treatment. Thirty-two percent of the patients took paracetamol irregularly for lumbar pain. Patients requiring other types of medication were withdrawn from the study. Conclusions: Intradiscal ozone administration in the protocol described achieved early onset of pain reduction, which was maintained for more than 2 years, as well as a sustained reduction in hernia size produced by ozone.

Keywords : Ozone; Discolysis; Radiculopathy; Disc hernia.

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