Original Article

Korean J Pain 2020; 33(1): 66-72

Published online January 1, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3344/kjp.2020.33.1.66

Copyright © The Korean Pain Society.

Effectiveness of intradiscal injection of radiopaque gelified ethanol (DiscoGel®) versus percutaneous laser disc decompression in patients with chronic radicular low back pain

Masoud Hashemi1 , Payman Dadkhah1 , Mehrdad Taheri1 , Pegah Katibeh2 , Saman Asadi1

1Anesthesiology Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Pediatric Neurology, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Correspondence to:Saman Asadi
Pain Clinic, Akhtar Hospital, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Sharifi Manesh St., Poule Roomi Ave, Shariati St., Tehran 11111, Iran
Tel: +98-9177113169
Fax: +98-2122007340
E-mail: asadisa@sums.ac.ir

Received: May 28, 2019; Revised: September 7, 2019; Accepted: September 26, 2019

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Low back pain secondary to discopathy is a common pain disorder. Multiple minimally invasive therapeutic modalities have been proposed; however, to date no study has compared percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD) with intradiscal injection of radiopaque gelified ethanol (DiscoGel®). We are introducing the first study on patient-reported outcomes of DiscoGel®vs. PLDD for radiculopathy.


Seventy-two patients were randomly selected from either a previous strategy of PLDD or DiscoGel®, which had been performed in our center during 2016–2017. Participants were asked about their numeric rating scale (NRS) scores, Oswestry disability index (ODI) scores, and progression to secondary treatment.


The mean NRS scores in the total cohort before intervention was 8.0, and was reduced to 4.3 in the DiscoGel® group and 4.2 in the PLDD group after 12 months, which was statistically significant. The mean ODI score before intervention was 81.25% which was reduced to 41.14% in the DiscoGel® group and 52.86% in the PLDD group after 12 months, which was statistically significant. Between-group comparison of NRS scores after two follow-ups were not statistically different (P = 0.62) but the ODI score in DiscoGel® was statistically lower (P = 0.001). Six cases (16.67%) from each group reported undergoing surgery after the follow-up period which was not statistically different.


Both techniques were equivalent in pain reduction but DiscoGel® had a greater effect on decreasing disability after 12 months, although the rate of progression to secondary treatments and/or surgery was almost equal in the two groups.

Keywords: Chronic Pain, Disability Evaluation, Discectomy, Intervertebral Disc, Low Back Pain, Pain Management, Radiculopathy, Visual Analog Scale