Low Back Disc Bulge Failure
It’s always good to report both your successes and failures. I’ve reported on various treatment failures many times before on the blog (here, here, here, and here for example). Talking about both sides of this coin is helpful for patients trying to make treatment decisions.
KB was 39 when he was seen by Dr. Schultz in 2009 to treat a low back disc bulge leading to chronic nerve irritation. Based on his MRI only he was thought to be a good candidate, but based on a hands on exam showing multiple low back and nerve related issues, Dr. Schultz bumped him down to a fair candidate for the Regenexx-C disc procedure. He chose to proceed with the procedure. The patient ultimately saw no change in his condition and ultimately opted for a surgical disc replacement despite the stem cell therapy. We believe in transparency, hence the reason we present our registry data at scientific conferences with our colleagues, publish that data on this site, and publish it (when appropriate) in scientific journals. In fact, I found out about KB’s failure as part of an internal push to get patients who hadn’t responded to our registry questionnaires to provide some data.
Above is all of the collected data on our use of cultured stem cells inside the low back disc to get rid of disc bulges. Almost all of these patients (treated from 2007-2010) couldn’t be managed with simple epidurals and were looking at surgery as their next step. Many did well and pre and post MRIs that showed resolution of their disc bulges (which have been posted on this blog-examples here, here, here). However, the data definitely shows some patients who didn’t respond nor report improvements.
The upshot? Like all medical procedures, our procedures don’t always work. In addition, as we often discuss with patients, because we can only gather partial information from an MRI, a later hands on exam with a physician may improve or reduce your candidacy for these procedures.