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Find Relief from Back Pain with Innovative Discseel Procedure

Discover how Discseel provides relief from herniated discs and chronic back pain

Daniel* is no stranger to pain. The Florida-based pharmacist seriously injured his back while serving in the Army in the mid-1980s. The injury left him with five herniated discs in his lower back and intense discomfort that grew progressively worse as the years went on. “The pain was both achy and sharp,” Daniel describes. “It was consistently a four or five on a scale of one to 10, and sometimes I’d get pain like an ice pick was jabbed into my back. The pain was so bad that it would sometimes make my knees buckle and force me to grab onto something so I wouldn’t fall. There were times I couldn’t even get out of bed. At those times, the pain was closer to an eight out of 10. “As I got older, the pain became more intense and more frequent. Then about a year ago, the leg pain started. That pain radiated straight down my left leg and into my foot. I ultimately had to give up a lot my activities, things like working out, bicycling and walking because I could barely walk a block without the pain running down my back and into my leg and foot.” Over the years, Daniel tried multiple treatments to ease his pain. Chiropractic adjustments, steroid injections, spinal decompression, physical therapy and core strengthening exercises brought some temporary relief, but the reprieve between treatments became shorter and shorter. “I was advised by two orthopedic surgeons that I should undergo lumbar fusion surgery,” Daniel shares. “But I wasn’t happy with that recommendation, so I did some research on alternatives to back surgery and that’s how I discovered Discseel®.”

Discseel and Discs

Each vertebra is separated and cushioned by a disc made of fibrous cartilage. Each disc has a sturdy outer ring called an annulus, which is made of proteins and collagen that enhance stability. The job of the annulus is to protect the disc’s gel-like center, the nucleus pulposus. Annular tears are an underlying cause of most disc problems. Discseel is a minimally invasive procedure that uses an FDA-approved biologic sealant called fibrin to heal annulus damage, says Gerald Mastaw, MD, a board-certified anesthesiologist and pain management specialist at East Coast Discseel, which is located in Delray Beach. “Strain and shearing can force a breakdown of the annulus that causes tears to form,” Dr. Mastaw explains. “When that happens, the inner part, the nucleus pulposus, can herniate through and irritate the outer ring and nerves, which causes pain. “The goal of Discseel is to inject fibrin to seal the annulus to stop the irritation and enable the discs to heal.” To perform Discseel, the doctor places a needle into the affected discs, specifically into the annulus. The position of the needle is verified with an injection of dye. The components that create fibrin in the body, prothrombin and fibrinogen, are simultaneously injected into the annulus, and fibrin forms and seals damaged discs. The procedure can be done on the lumbar and cervical spine, Dr. Mastaw points out. “Patients typically achieve a noticeable difference in their pain level within four to six weeks of the treatment’s completion, but for some patients it may be several months before they feel the effects,” the doctor says. General anesthesia is not required for this procedure. Instead, patients receive twilight sedation similar to what is used during a colonoscopy. The Discseel procedure takes about 30 minutes, followed by 30 to 60 minutes in the recovery area. Physicians that perform Discseel must be certified after undergoing a rigorous training process developed the procedure’s inventor, Kevin J. Pauza, MD. Dr. Mastaw is among only a handful of doctors in Florida who can do the procedure. “Unlike a lot of regenerative medicine treatments with platelet rich plasma that are offered by many providers, the Discseel procedure is performed by physicians who have an intensive understanding of the spine,” Dr. Mastaw stresses. “These include doctors that traditionally deal with spine issues, such as pain management physicians and spine surgeons. Not everyone can do this because the skill set is pretty robust.”

Jordan Pysz / iFoundMyDoctor.com
Mary Ann has resumed physical activities and walks 11,000 to 15,000 steps per day.

Sciatica and More

Unlike Daniel, Mary Ann Rule can’t remember a specific injury that instigated her back and leg trouble. She believed her problem was sciatica because she felt pain along the sciatic nerve that runs from her lower back down her leg. After a thorough evaluation by her general physician, Mary Ann was surprised to learn there was more going on. An MRI showed that Mary Ann suffered from degenerative disc disease with some disc bulging. She also had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spaces within the spinal canal, and spondylolisthesis (pronounced spahn-duh-low-lus-THEE-sus), a condition in which a vertebra slips out of place onto the vertebra below it.
Despite these disorders, Mary Ann’s discomfort was primarily in her legs. “My back didn’t hurt, but I had tingling in my right leg all the way down to the sole of my foot,” she details. “I also had the sciatic nerve pain on my right side. I got really bad pain on my left side, but I got that under control. The pain was still present on my right side, though. “The sciatica pain was a five out of 10 constantly, 24/7. It was hard to sleep at night because I was hurting.” To address the discomfort, Mary Ann was asked to take ibuprofen. When that didn’t help, she was given prednisone, a type of steroid often used to reduce inflammation. “But that didn’t do anything for me either,” she laments. Mary Ann’s doctor eventually referred her to a neurosurgeon who specializes in the spine. That neurosurgeon immediately recommended fusion surgery that would place hardware in her lumbar spine to support her discs and nerves. “Then one day, I was talking with a friend who had just had disc surgery, and he asked if I would consider an alternative to surgery,” Mary Ann discloses. “He told me about Discseel. I did my research on it and thought, What do I have to lose?”

“Fantastic” Results

As it turns out, Mary Ann had much to gain by undergoing the Discseel procedure. Since receiving the treatment in April, she has resumed many of the physical activities that her pain forced her to abandon and regained a comfort level she thought was long gone. “Already, I’m doing Pilates, which I had to give up due to the pain in my legs, and I’m walking between 11,000 to 15,000 steps a day,” she enthuses. “And I sleep fine now because my pain is only about 0.5 out of 10, and the tingling in my leg is gone. That’s why I would recommend Discseel to anyone in pain. What have you got to lose?” Daniel achieved excellent results as well from the Discseel procedure. “The Discseel people told me that I should definitely see a nice improvement in my pain level within six months, but I noticed a difference within two months, which was fantastic,” he raves. “One morning I was having my coffee and realized I wasn’t in pain anymore. And now I have zero pain. “Since then, I have slowly built up my activity level, and today I feel 100 percent. I feel so good that I’ve made plans to go whitewater rafting and hiking again. “The best thing is that I feel like I’m back to being my old self again, so getting the Discseel procedure was the best money I ever spent. It was very successful.”

*Patient’s name changed at their request.

Gerald (Jerry) Mastaw, M.D.

Interventional Pain
Featured in Find Relief from Back Pain with Innovative Discseel Procedure

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