Cocktail Treatment with a Gelatin Sponge Impregnated with Ropivacaine, Dexamethasone, and Vitamin B12 Promotes Early Postoperative Recovery after Percutaneous Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy: A Retrospective, Case-Controlled Study

Pain Physician. 2020 Mar;23(2):E211-E218.


Background: Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD) can only relieve mechanical compression but cannot directly reduce the inflammatory reaction of the adjacent nerve root, which contributes to persistent pain and physical disabilities postoperatively. Numerous studies have explored the application of epidural steroids after an open lumbar discectomy in relieving pain by reducing local inflammatory reactions and further peridural scar formation.

Objectives: To explore that whether "cocktail treatment" in which a gelatin sponge was impregnated with ropivacaine, dexamethasone, and vitamin B12 promoted early postoperative recovery after PELD.

Study design: Retrospective, case-controlled study.

Setting: All data were from Hong-Hui Hospital in Xi'an.

Methods: Between January 2016 and January 2017, 100 patients of single-level lumbar disc herniation were treated with PELD in our hospitals. The cocktail treatment was applied in the first 50 patients (group cocktail), and an equal size gelatin sponge without drugs was used in the other 50 patients as control (group noncocktail). The clinical outcome evaluation included the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score for back and leg pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score.

Results: There was a significant difference in the mean periods of return to work (4.25 ± 1.88 weeks in the cocktail group and 5.18 ± 2.19 weeks in the noncocktail group) (P < 0.01). Compared with the preoperative data, a significant improvement in VAS scores of back pain and sciatica and ODI were observed in each follow-up interval (P < 0.05, respectively). In the noncocktail group, there were visible fluctuations in the 3 indicators within the first week after surgery. This phenomenon was not observed in the cocktail group, a difference that was statistically significant (P < 0.05, respectively). In further follow-up, no significant differences were observed between the 2 groups (P > 0.05, respectively).

Limitations: The nonrandomized, single-center, retrospective design is a major limitation of this study.

Conclusions: The "cocktail treatment" with a gelatin sponge impregnated with ropivacaine, dexamethasone, and vitamin B12 promotes early and satisfactory back and leg pain relief and fast functional recovery after PELD.

Key words: Endoscopic lumbar discectomy, lumbar disc herniation, steroids, nerve root block, gelatin sponge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia Recovery Period*
  • Anesthetics, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Diskectomy / adverse effects
  • Diskectomy / trends*
  • Diskectomy, Percutaneous / adverse effects
  • Endoscopy / adverse effects
  • Endoscopy / trends*
  • Female
  • Gelatin / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration / surgery
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ropivacaine / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin B 12 / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Ropivacaine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Gelatin
  • Vitamin B 12

Supplementary concepts

  • Intervertebral disc disease