OxyFile #282

Ozone therapy in lumbar sciatic pain

DErme M; Scarchilli A; Artale AM; Pasquali Lasagni M 

Istituto Chirurgico Ortopedico Traumatologico (I.C.O.T.), Latina. 

Radiol Med (Torino), 1998 Jan, 95:1-2, 21-4 


INTRODUCTION: Medical ozone is a mixture of oxygen and ozone which 
can be used for several medical applications. Ozone was first 
applied clinically to the treatment of lumbar sciatic pain 
peridurally, while Pietrogrande was the first in Italy to report 
on its intradiscal administration to treat nucleus polposus 
herniation. On account of these considerations, we have decided to 
introduce this method in our Institute (I.C.O.T. Latina) as an 
alternative to surgery in the treatment of lumbar sciatic pain 
supported by an intradiscal hernia. 

MATERIAL AND METHODS: September, 1995, to April, 1997, we treated 
more than 1000 patients with intradiscal ozone infiltration. We 
prospectively analyzed the first 50 patients, with 6 months' 
follow-up at least; all of them were preliminarily submitted to 
clinical examination, electromyography, CT and MRI. After local 
anesthesia, we injected the disk, with 18-20 G needles and under 
CT or fluoroscopic guidance, with 12 ml of a mixture of oxygen and 
ozone at a concentration of 20-30 micrograms/ml. The treatment was 
repeated two or three more times at intervals of 3, 15 or, when 
necessary, 30 days. After each treatment, CT follow-ups were 
carried out and the final follow-up was made 3 months later. 

RESULTS: We divided our results into clinical and instrumental. As 
for clinical response, we had 68% positive results (40% excellent, 
28% good) and 32% negative results (10% of patients underwent 
surgery and 22 are under medical and physical treatment). As for 
CT response, we had 82% positive results (36% excellent, 46% 
good), while no major changes between pre- and post-treatment CT 
findings in the remaining 18% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS: Ozone therapy, thanks to its ease of execution and 
noninvasiveness, permits the successful outpatient treatment of 
lumbar sciatic pain. Moreover, the lack of major complications and 
the good results obtained compared to other methods, such as 
chemonucleolysis, percutaneous automated discectomy, microsurgery 
and conventional surgery, suggest that ozone therapy can be 
considered the treatment of choice for lumbar sciatic pain and a 
valid alternative to surgery in many cases.