Purpose: This paper describes discolysis by intradiscal, periganglionic and periradicular oxygen-ozone (O(2)-O(3)) injection, a minimally invasive percutaneous technique for the treatment of lumbar disk herniation.
Materials and methods: From June 2000 to December 2006, we performed O(2)-O(3) chemonucleolysis procedures in 2,900 patients affected by lumbar disk herniation. Patients were selected on the basis of clinical, psychological, neurological and neuroradiological criteria. Exclusion criteria were extruded hernia and/or free disc fragments, hyperalgesic-paralysing sciatica and progressive neurological impairment of the affected limb. All percutaneous treatments were performed under computed tomography (CT) guidance. All patients were evaluated after 1 month, and those showing only partial success were scheduled for a second treatment session.
Results: Results were evaluated with the modified MacNab classification, the visual analogue scale and the Oswestry Disability Index at 6 and 12 months. Success rates were 75%-80% for soft disc herniation, 70% for multiple-disc herniations and 55% for failed back surgery syndrome. None of the patients suffered early or late neurological or infectious complications.
Conclusions: According to our data, minimally invasive percutaneous treatment by intradiscal, periradicular or periganglionic O(2)-O(3) infiltration is a valuable and competitive technique that provides excellent results at low cost and without complications.