Research ArticleTissue Engineering

Combined nucleus pulposus augmentation and annulus fibrosus repair prevents acute intervertebral disc degeneration after discectomy

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Science Translational Medicine  11 Mar 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 534, eaay2380
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aay2380

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Strategic lumbar support

Discectomy is a common treatment for herniated or “slipped” intervertebral discs that can help alleviate symptoms but does not prevent reherniation or progression of disc degeneration. Sloan et al. developed a two-part, acellular tissue-engineered therapy to prevent degeneration after discectomy. Injecting hyaluronic acid into the inner region of the disc (nucleus pulposus) and applying a photocrosslinked collagen patch to the outer annulus fibrosus healed disc defects and maintained biomechanical support in the lumbar spines of sheep for 6 weeks after discectomy. Results support further investigation of this combined approach to potentially treat herniation while preventing disc degeneration after discectomy in humans.

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