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Changes in Intervertebral Disc Properties after Intradiscal Injection of Condoliase for Painful Lumbar Disc Herniation.

The detailed changes in disc properties after intradiscal injection of condoliase remain controversial. At 3 and 9 months after administration, radiographic changes in discs were investigated. A total of 41 patients (men, 25; median age, 46 years) who underwent regular follow-up magnetic resonance imaging at 3 and 9 months after administration without additional invasive therapy were retrospectively investigated. The intensity changes of the nucleus pulposus based on the Pfirrmann disc grading system, midsagittal disc height, and maximum protrusion length of herniation were assessed. In addition, disc height changes were compared between 24 patients aged <50 years (young group) and 17 patients aged ≥50 years (over 50s group). The overall mean disc heights were 9.1, 7.5, and 7.6 mm preoperatively, at 3 months, and at 9 months, respectively, with a significant reduction at 3 months (P < 0.001) and no significant changes thereafter. The mean maximum protrusion length of herniation significantly and gradually decreased. The overall proportions of Pfirrmann disc grades after administration were equivalent between 3 and 9 months. However, the recovery from Pfirrmann disc grades IV to III was confirmed in 8 of 17 cases (47.1%) between 3 and 9 months, whereas 6 of 20 cases (30.0%) showed a decline from III to IV. Patients in the young group with pretreatment disc height >11 mm had the greatest reduction in disc height than the over 50s group. In conclusion, the clinical outcomes in the over 50s group were comparable to those in the young group after injection of condoliase, whereas young patients with higher disc were more susceptible to disc height reduction.

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