Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs Batavia IL

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James Henry Breihan, MD
(773) 529-3991
Batavia, IL
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Northwestern Univ Med Sch, Chicago Il 60611
Graduation Year: 1967
Hospital
Hospital: Thorek Hosp& Med Ctr, Chicago, Il; Grant Hosp, Chicago, Il
Group Practice: Sarrafian-Breihan Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Timothy Scott Petsche, MD
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Mi State Univ Coll Of Human Med, East Lansing Mi 48824
Graduation Year: 1994
Hospital
Hospital: Delnor Comm Hosp, Geneva, Il
Group Practice: Fox Valley Orthopaedic Inst Fox Valley Orthopaedic Assocs

Data Provided By:
Kevan E Ketterling
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine

Data Provided By:
Craig A Popp
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery of the Spine

Data Provided By:
Randy Wright, DDS
(630) 208-1200
2075 Blackberry Dr # B
Geneva, IL
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Stan G Biel, DDS
(630) 845-8000
1725 South St Ste C
Geneva, IL
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Thomas Allen Atkins, MD
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialties
Orthopedics, Hand Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Vt Coll Of Med, Burlington Vt 05405
Graduation Year: 1994

Data Provided By:
Timothy Petsche, MD
Geneva, IL
Specialty
Orthopaedic Sugeon

Data Provided By:
Jasper A Petrucci
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Rodney W Rieger
(630) 584-1400
2525 Kaneville Rd
Geneva, IL
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

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Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs

The lines and wrinkles on our faces aren't the only signs of the inevitable aging process. Progressive degenerative changes have also been documented in the spine. One of the areas of great interest is the intervertebral disc . New biologic therapies for aging discs are the subject of this review article on the topic.

There are 33 vertebrae or spinal bones. Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid center. These discs provide the cushion that allows your backbone to bend and twist. Discs also act like shock absorbers as we walk, run, and jump. Each vertebral segment consists of bone next to bone with a cartilage cushion between. They are tied together with connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.

Degenerative disc disease is an example of something that affects most people as they get older. Everyone is going to have a certain amount of damage to the spine. This occurs throughout a lifetime. The discs can flatten, and protrude from between the bones. In time, most people will have small tears in the outer layers of these discs.

Finding ways to repair damage to the discs is the focus of many research studies. One of the most recent directions in research has been the use of biologic therapies to restore the disc. Examples of these treatment approaches include disc cell reimplantation, stem cell implantation, disc denervation, injection of therapeutic proteins, and gene therapy.

What are these therapies and how do they work? Biologic therapies of this type are meant to help at the cellular level. Scientists have shown that inside the cells of the disc there is a limited amount of blood flow. As a result, there are waste products building up. The cell becomes very acidic and that is a harsh environment that doesn't support cell health very well.

As we age, there are fewer new cells to replace the old. Fluid leaks out of the discs that never gets replaced. We start to lose the strength of the discs needed to cushion and support the spine. A loss of disc height can lead to disc space collapse.

That's what's happening on the inside at the cellular level. On the outside, the affected individual may not feel anything until the degenerative process has gone on quite a while. Eventually, back pain, loss of motion, and loss of function get our attention. By then, there may not be much that can be done to save the disc. Right now, surgery to remove the disc is often the only option.

That could change if any of these biologic therapies can be perfected. Right now they are still in the experimental stages. Most of the studies have been done on animals but a few human trials have been conducted.

For example, disc tissue reimplantation is a process in which a few healthy cells are removed from an intact disc. They are taken to a lab where they can be multiplied and then reinjected into the diseased disc. The hope is that the new, healthy cells will replace the damaged cells and restore the strength of t...

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