The discs in your spine act like shock absorbers and help you twist, flex, and bend. Each disc has a tough outer shell filled with a viscous, jelly-like substance. Trauma and wear and tear can cause damage to these discs, and when they rupture, slip out of place, or tear, they can cause significant pain. VIA Disc is a new approach to repairing damaged discs.
VIA Disc is made out of donated nucleus pulposus tissue. This tissue is normally found inside each disc. It absorbs water and becomes the jelly-like substance that fills the disc and gives it its shock-absorbing characteristics. VIA Disc is prepared by sterilizing and dehydrating the donated nucleus pulposus tissue. Immediately before use, your doctor will suspend the tissue in sterile saline.
VIA Disc is placed in a minimally invasive procedure. After cleaning and numbing the area, it is injected into the damaged disc with a needle under fluoroscopic guidance. There is no incision and no stitches. The entire process only takes a few minutes.
After the procedure, patients are encouraged to rest and take it easy for around 72 hours. There is likely to be some pain and soreness for a few days as the body adjusts to the change; your doctor will prescribe pain medications as necessary to relieve this temporary pain. VIA Disc is a one-time treatment and does not need to be repeated periodically.
What to Expect
It usually takes several weeks before VIA Disc restores the full function of the treated disc. As the disc returns to normal, the troubling pain and other symptoms caused by the damaged disc will gradually go away. Your doctor may suggest engaging in physical therapy as a supplement to VIA Disc treatment.
Who Should get VIA Disc
VIA Disc is indicated for the treatment of degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease causes sharp or constant pain in the back. The exact symptoms vary by the location of the damaged disc but may include:
- Pain in the lower back, buttocks, or thighs
- Pain that gets worse while sitting
- Pain that gets worse while flexing or bending
- Pain that waxes and wanes in severity
In some cases, a damaged disc will cause numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in one of the limbs because it compresses the nerves extending from the spine into that limb.
When to Get VIA Disc
Traditionally, doctors recommend that patients suffering from degenerative disc disease try conservative treatment (pain medications, physical therapy) before considering a more aggressive approach. However, this plan was developed under the assumption that “an aggressive approach” means surgical intervention. Since VIA Disc can be placed in a minimally invasive procedure, there is no need to suffer through ineffective conservative treatments; patients can choose VIA Disc as their first treatment option immediately after being diagnosed.
Contact us to learn more about VIA Disc and whether it is right for you or your loved one.