Discseel: No Spinal Fusion Needed


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – When back pain doesn’t quit, many patients face a spinal fusion but now, a new biologic solution that repairs torn discs and eliminates pain.

Between 60 and 80 percent of all Americans will have lower back pain at some point in their lives and annular tears are often the culprit. Annular tears are injuries that develop in the discs — the so called “shock absorbers” cushioning the vertebrae in the spine. Now, orthopedic specialists are using a minimally invasive procedure to heal the tears in the disc.

Neil Bar spends hours on his feet and on his bike. He’s a triathlete and endurance training keeps him mentally and physically fit. He says it’s a test of human spirit.

But more than two decades of chronic back pain caused by a congenital condition tested his limits. Then, four years ago, more pain but this time, it was very different.

“It was right on the bone, or right in the disc,” Bar says.

Neil had an annular tear in a spinal disc and the material inside his disc was leaking out, causing inflammation. Neil wanted to avoid a spinal fusion, which would have limited his movement. Sports medicine specialist,  Brian Shiple, DO, recommended a regenerative procedure called the Discseel. Doctors take a synthetic material called fibrin and inject it into the damaged disc.

(Read Full Interview)

“It becomes like thick glue that they use to seal things instead of sutures,” Dr. Shiple explained to Ivanhoe.

The fibrin encourages the growth of new tissue, causing the disc tear to close so the pain goes away.

Dr. Shiple said, “At the two-month mark, he [Neil] was pain free and training hard.”

Neil is preparing for his first post-COVID race with a back that feels as good as new.

“I’m back to just being thankful that I can get on the saddle without any pain,” Neil expressed.

Fibrin was first approved by the FDA for use in facial reconstruction, repairing the spleen and controlling cardiac bleeding during surgery because it heals tissue that can’t be sutured. Fibrin is used off-label to repair discs. Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe drugs off-label when they feel it’s medically appropriate. The Discseel procedure is not covered by insurance, and it costs between $14,500 to $15,500 out of pocket.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5041

BACKGROUND: Any pain that lasts longer than three to six months is considered chronic pain. The pain can become progressively worse and reoccur from time to time, outlasting the usual healing process. After injured tissue heals, pain is expected to stop once the underlying cause is treated. However, chronic pain can persist after injuries heal for no apparent biological cause. Low back pain, headache, and arthritic pain are the most common sources of chronic pain. Chronic pain can cause significant psychological and emotional trauma and often limits an individual’s ability to fully function.

(Source: https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/chronic-pain)

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: A physical examination of the body and certain tests may be what the doctor orders to look for the cause of pain. Some of the tests may include blood tests; electromyography to test muscle activity; imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI; nerve conduction studies to see if your nerves are reacting properly; reflex and balance tests; spinal fluid tests; or urine tests. Sometimes when the source of pain can’t be identified, doctors will turn to treating, or managing, the pain. The best treatment plans use a variety of strategies, including medications, lifestyle changes, and therapies. However, there are four major lifestyle factors that can affect chronic pain and help minimize it. They include stress, exercise, diet, and sleep.

(Source: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4798-chronic-pain)

PAIN RELIEF WITHOUT SURGERY: A more modern, non-operative treatment solution that utilizes the body’s natural healing process to rebuild damaged tissue, heal injuries more effectively, and eliminate pain is being called regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine targets the underlying source of pain without relying on medication or surgery and leads to increased function and mobility with a shorter recovery time than surgical options. One regenerative procedure, called Discseel, is a minimally invasive procedure to treat chronic back pain resulting from damaged or torn spinal discs. A natural biologic called Fibrin is injected into the disc, which seals the tears and stimulates the body to begin healing. Fibrin not only repairs the damaged and torn disc, it allows an individual’s body to replenish the lost cells with new cells, helping to restore the degenerated disc to a healthy state.

(Source: https://www.spinemd.com/how-we-treat/regenerative-medicine and https://regenerativespineandjoint.com/discseel-overview/)


Brian Shiple, DO


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Brian Shiple, DO, orthopedic specialist

Read the entire Q&A