When we first viewed the results collected from patients who had undergone our Regenexx PL epidurals vs Steroid epidurals, we were very excited. For years, we have been hearing and warning patients of the risks of epidural steroid injections. The steroid injections are the standard of care for pain generated from injuries and/or degeneration of the spine and other joints. Generally, these injections are given by “Pain Management” specialists and consist of a series of three injections spaced anywhere from a week to 3 weeks apart. Lately, these steroid injections have been all over the media because of several bad batches manufactured by a compounding pharmacy in New England that has resulted in 313 bacterial meningitis infections, resulting in serious illness and several deaths.
What most folks do not realize is that these injections have many more complications or side-effects than frequently discussed. That said, the steroids do a good job of reducing or eliminating pain for many suffering patients, even considering the risks. The search for a better long lasting “super anti-inflammatory” substance has been ongoing for many years with little to nothing to show for it. Yes, we have gotten better at dosing and warning patients to have no more than three injections a year, but up until now, no drug or treatment could match what steroids could do. Yes, I said: “up until now”!
PL-Disc Procedure vs Steroid Epidural Procedure
Regenexx has conducted a small study comparing patients who received their PL-Disc procedure vs Steroid Epidural procedure and the results are surprising. The study was done comparing 147 patients who received the PL-Disc injections to 85 Steroid Epidural injections. The results were collected by an independent registry that followed these patients for up to 6 months. All patients completed a baseline questionnaire that asked about pain, activities such as sitting, standing, walking, activities of daily living etc., before undergoing their procedure and again at 3 months and 6 months. The results showed that the Steroid Epidural patients had a much poorer improvement compared to the Regenexx PL-Disc patients. You can see for yourself: -Click here for an infographic that shows outcome information for the Regenexx-PL-Disc procedure…
The procedure consists of taking some of your blood and processing it in our on-site laboratory. From this processing we produce a Platelet Lysate that was developed and pioneered by Regenexx that produces concentrated natural growth factors from your own immune system. The administration of the PL-Disc procedure is performed under Fluoroscopic guidance precisely delivering the natural growth factors to the damaged area’s of the spine. The results speak for themselves; at three months, the steroid patients reported an improvement from baseline of a little more than 2, while the Regenexx PL-Disc patients were greater than 9. Even more stunning was at 6 months, the Steroid group was less than one, while the Regenexx PL-Disc patients were greater than 7. Regenexx will be initiating a larger study very shortly with data collected from their nationwide provider network.
This is a major breakthrough, as millions of folks get the Steroid Epidurals every year and suffer from the side-effects such as:
- Weakening of tendons and surrounding tissues due to the inhibition of natural healing
- Osteoporosis and brittle bone disease
- Elevation of blood sugar that can especially affect diabetics
- Reduced immune function that can suppress the body’s ability to fight infection, worsen the infection or mask the infection by suppressing the signs and symptoms of inflammation
- Associated with greater cartilage breakdowns in animal models and been shown to cause ligament failure and breakdown
- The preservative used in the steroid suspension contains benzalkonium chloride that is very toxic toward cartilage cells
- Reduces the body’s ability to produce new bone
- Oral steroid patients can develop avascular necrosis of the bone (bone death)
- Substantially reduces bone density in post menopausal females
- Causes the body to hold on to sodium and lose potassium resulting in fluid retention that can lead to edema, swelling, pooling of fluid in the legs and elevated blood pressure
- Can cause weight gain as a result of fluid retention and fat accumulation around the central abdomen
We are very optimistic that the Regenexx PL-Disc and other PL procedures will become a new standard of care for patients who are suffering from joint and spinal pain. It only makes sense that using your body’s own healing mechanism is a better alternative to injecting foreign chemicals. There are no side effects or risks other than normal risks associated with puncturing the skin. Imagine, you can now have treatment that not only works on relieving pain, but does it by healing and regenerating damaged tissues.