Understanding the problem
Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition that causes weakening of one or more vertebral discs, which normally act as a cushion between the vertebrae. This condition can develop as a natural part of the aging process, but it may also result from injury to the back.
Understanding who suffers
Low back pain is one of the most prevalent problems facing the modern world. For many patients who have failed conservative therapy such as spinal injections, physiotherapy and medication continue to have intractable life changing pain. Not all patients are surgical candidates and need to be review by relevant experts to understand the correct path of treatment.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
Typical symptoms may wary greatly and could include none or all of the following symptoms and more:
- Pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs based on the place of the pathological disk.
- Strong pain tends to come and go.
- Bending, twisting and sitting may make the pain worse.
- Lying down relieves pressure on the spine.
Examinations Usually Required
Plain radiographs are the most common type of imaging modality that is used in the initial assessment of patients with lower back pain (LBP).
CT or CAT scan
CT scanning of the lumbar spine provides superior anatomic imaging of the osseous structures of the spine and good resolution for cases of disc herniation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI has demonstrated excellent sensitivity in the diagnosis of lumbar disc herniation and is considered the imaging study of choice for nerve root impingement.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Treatments can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and how much they limit your everyday activities and your level of pain. Not all patients with pain from degenerative disc disease require surgery. For mild to moderate pain, more conservative treatment methods can include medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.
However, for special cases AIMIS offer Stem cell transplantation.
Stem Cell Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD)
AIMIS has a rigorous screening process for inclusion into the program for stem cell transplantation for DDD. All patients must have a physical exam by a medical professional as well as a recent MRI of the Lumbar spine. Any other ancillary studies will also be considered. Only those patients who have strict MRI criteria with only one or two level discogenic disease will be considered. This is to ensure the highest likely hood of clinical success. Once a successful screening process has been completed by a leading AIMIS surgeon the OR day will be selected. The procedure will utilize minimally invasive techniques. Therefore only mild sedation is necessary.
How it works
Using patented FDA approved technology the patient's own mesenchymal stem cells* will be selected and concentrated. The highly processed stem cells will then be stereotactically delivered into the diseased disc space(s). Only highly trained and experienced AIMIS spinal surgeons will be involved in the technique.
MSCs have a high capacity for self-renewal while maintaining multipotency. Thus, mesenchymal stem cells have enormous therapeutic potential for tissue repair including cartilage, bone, tendons, muscle, and skin.
*Mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are multipotent stromal cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types, including: osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocytes (muscle cells) and adipocytes (fat cells).
Scientific Excellence and Measurement of Success
Prior to being accepted into the program all patients must agree to an annual neurological exam by a local physician. Completing a computerized pain diagram and outcome questionnaire via internet must also be completed. Finally a one year MRI post procedure must be obtained. This scientific collection of data will allow for the continual improvement of this technology by using the most rigorous scientific standards and post procedural outcome follow-up.
Thus far the AIMIS technique has been shown to be extremely safe with extremely low complication profile. Early data indicates success both clinical and on follow up MRI of over 80%.
AIMIS understands daily chronic pain can become debilitating and life changing. With our team of highly trained and compassionate professionals we hope to bring hope to this difficult problem.
More FAQ about Stem Cells, here
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeon
Dr. Plev is a neurosurgeon with significant experience in spinal assessment, treatment and surgery. During his training he gained considerable experience in treating spinal disorders, ranging from degenerative conditions to spinal tumors. He was a spinal fellow at the prestigious London Spinal Clinic greatly increasing his exposure and experience of treating spinal conditions and now a Consultant Spinal Neurosurgeon for that clinic.
He specializes in spinal assessment, treatment and surgery; including surgical and non-surgical treatment of degenerative spinal conditions, surgical and non-surgical treatment of osteoporotic conditions.
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide.
AIMIS’ mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
- Disc Wall Tears - Degenerative disc disease typically begins when small tears appear in the disc wall, called the annulus. These tears can cause pain.
- Disc Wall Heals - When the tears heal, creating scar tissue that is not as strong as the original disc wall. If the back is repeatedly injured, the process of tearing and scarring may continue, weakening the disc wall.
- Disc Center Weakens - Over time, the nucleus (or center) of the disc becomes damaged and loses some of its water content. This center is called the pulposus, and its water content is needed to keep the disc functioning as a shock absorber for the spine.
- Nucleus Collapses - Unable to act as a cushion, the nucleus collapses. The vertebrae above and below this damaged disc slide closer together. This improper alignment causes the facet joints – the areas where the vertebral bones touch – to twist into an unnatural position.
- Bone Spurs Form - In time, this awkward positioning of the vertebrae may create bone spurs. If these spurs grow into the spinal canal, they may pinch the spinal cord and nerves (a condition called spinal stenosis). The site of the injury may be painful.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
The aging process and wear and tear on your spine can damage a disc in your back. A damaged disc can also be caused by repetitive activities or an injury to the spine.
Further examination that maybe required or requested
Prior to being accepted into the program all patients must agree to an annual neurological exam by a local physician. Completing a computerized pain diagram and outcome questionnaire via internet must also be completed.
Finally, a one year MRI post procedure must be obtained. This scientific collection of data will allow for the continual improvement of this technology by using the most rigorous scientific standards.
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment. Thus far the AIMIS technique has been shown to be extremely safe with extremely low complication profile. Early data indicates success both clinical and on follow up MRI of over 80%.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you’ll know the best flights to take, where you’ll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become “part of our family” and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.