Scaffolds can Hasten Recovery for Slipped Disc Sufferers

by VR Sreeraman on Nov 17 2008 1:41 PM

The efficacy of conventional surgical methods used for slipped discs is being increasingly questioned. Now, scientists from University of Michigan have come up with an alternate treatment for the condition that can help people get rid of the acute pain and recover quickly.

A majority of herniated discs or slipped dics heal themselves in about six weeks, but sometimes require surgery.

The research team led by Chia-Ying Lin, from University of Michigan suggest that an alternative could be to install a support that can help a disc heal.

The conventional methods used for treating slipped discs aren't effective enough. So Michigan scientists suggest the use of scaffolds, which are strong and porous enough to let the body heal naturally.

Porosity is important as it allows cells, nutrients and other biofactors to flow in and out of the region, and to allow the regeneration of connective tissue.

The researchers suggest that scaffolds can be created from two parts- reinforcing region gives the scaffold its strength, while a porous region provides window through which regrowth and the flow of nutrients can occur, reports New Scientist.

That portion of the scaffold could be infused with growth and healing promoting compounds.

Since adding a scaffold to the flexible and articulated spine is not easy, the scientists suggest that using 3D printing technology can make it possible to build them within hours of diagnosis.