Injectable gel implant seen to greatly reduce chronic back pain

June 13, 2022
Injectable gel implant seen to greatly reduce chronic back pain

Results of the first study looking at how a particular hydrogel could be used in humans reveals a promising treatment for chronic lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease (DDD). The specially developed hydrogel cushions the vertebrae in the same way as natural spinal discs, and also features similar biomechanical properties, unlike prosthetics, to provide ample support.

The new injectable hydrogel, known as Hydrafil, is developed by medical company ReGelTec – it received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2020 as a breakthrough innovation, and continued to perform exceptionally well in its most recent clinical trial.

According to company medical advisor Dr. Douglas P. Beall, who is also the Chief of Radiology Services at Clinical Radiology of Oklahoma, “The gel is easy to administer, requires no open surgery, and is an easy procedure for the patient […] this procedure may be a very promising treatment for chronic low back pain in those who’ve found insufficient relief from conservative care.”

Scientists enrolled 20 patients, aged 22 to 69, with chronic DDD and low back pain. Each patient described their pain as four or higher on the 10-point scale but had not found more than mild relief from conservative care, which includes rest, analgesics, physical therapy, and/or back braces.

In only six months, all patients reported back with significantly less low back pain—declining from an average self-reported pain level of 7.1 down to 2.0 on a scale of zero to 10. They also experienced greatly improved physical function, with average scores falling from 48 to 6 on a questionnaire to gauge how low back pain prevented patients from carrying out normal activities.

Spinal discs play an important role in cushioning the vertebrae and providing structural support, but will unfortunately wear out with age, resulting in DDD. This hydrogel may mitigate a serious problem should further and larger clinical studies show as much promise.

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Injectable gel implant seen to greatly reduce chronic back pain


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