K. Sato, Kensei Nagata, Mamoru Ariyoshi, Teruyuki Hirohashi, Akio Inoue

June 2000, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 213 - 217 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s005860000127

First Online: 07 June 2000

Although chemonucleolysis with chymopapain is a long-established treatment for lumbar intervertebral disc herniation, serious complications have been reported. Accordingly, alternative substances for chemonucleolysis have been sought. The main beneficial effect of chemonucleolysis derives from the decrease in intradiscal pressure. Several previous studies have investigated the relationship between physiological saline injection and disc mechanics in cadaveric specimens [2, 5, 16]. However, no previous study has assessed the intradiscal pressure after intradiscal injection of “hypertonic saline” in living animals. The present study compared the changes in intradiscal pressure after intradiscal injection of hypertonic saline with those after chymopapain injection. The lumbar intervertebral discs of 26 living rabbits were examined: 10% hypertonic saline was injected in ten rabbits, and chymopapain (10 pikokatal units) was injected intradiscally in another ten, with the remaining six being used as controls. The intradiscal pressure was measured at 1, 4, and 12 weeks after injection. The intradiscal pressure of the hypertonic saline-injected group at 4 weeks was significantly lower than that of the control group, but by 12 weeks it had recovered. On the other hand, that of the chymopapain-injected group remained significantly lower than that of the control group at 12 weeks. The results of this study found that hypertonic saline injected into the intervertebral discs temporarily decreased the intradiscal pressure.

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