Lumbar Disc Bulge treated with Stem Cell Injection: Imaging Case Report

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MM is a very active middle aged WM with a multi-year history of right sided low back pain due to a mild central and right sided disc bulge at L5-S1.  He failed epidural injections, physical therapy, prolotherapy injections, and multiple attempts at alternative care.  He underwent an injection of his own stem cells into the L5-S1 disc in April of this year and was seen back this morning to review his low back MRI and progress.  He states that his right sided low back pain (which we had confirmed was coming from his disc bulge) was significantly better.  In addition, he now has the ability to sit for long periods.  His MRI was measured for the size of the foramen on the right (the hole where the spinal nerve comes out that can be made smaller when the disc bulges into this area) as well as the size of the central disc bulge.  The image below shows about a 1/3 reduction in the size of the central disc bulge as well as a 50% improvement in the room in the foramen.

mm-low-back-disc-bulge-treated-without-surgery-and-with-stem-cell-injection

The image below is both of these areas blown up further and without the annotations.

mm-low-back-disc-bulge-treated-without-surgery-and-with-stem-cell-injection-no-annotations1Note that the red dashed circles on the left (Before) compared to the yellow dashed circles on the right (6 months post-op) show significant reduction in the size of the disc bulge and an opening of the foramen.  This patient also has a left sacroiliac problem that we’ll be treating next, but his post-op MRI findings fit his description of improvement in his right sided back pain.  In addition, we were able to accomplish this without resorting to surgical removal of the back of the disc, which can result in weakening of that structure (whether it’s done through a traditional incision, a micro discectomy, or through a laser).  Perhaps the most interesting evidence of an improvement was the radiology reading which went from the disc bulge issues discussed above, to a normal lumbar reading 6 months after the procedure.

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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