[Media report] Development of Spinal Stenosis Treatment Using Balloon Extension Technique by Professor Jin-woo Shin

2020.04.24 Count:230


A groundbreaking new treatment for spinal stenosis, which causes pain in the waist and legs due to narrowing of the spinal neural pathways, has been developed by local researchers.

Asan Medical Center and an industry-academic cooperation company have developed a balloon expansion procedure that expands the space by adding balloons and inflating them using a tube (catheter) that goes to a narrowed spinal neural path.

It is expected that the balloon expansion surgery will exceed the limits of the existing treatment that has only brought short-term pain reduction as it has succeeded in reducing chronic pain and improving function of patients with intractable spinal stenosis.

 Jin-woo Shin, a professor of anesthetic pain medicine at Asan Medical Center, recently announced the results of administering drugs along with balloon expansion to 32 out of 62 patients with intractable spinal stenosis (intervertebral pore) who have little effect in conventional neuro injection therapy and neuroblocking or have not improved for more than a month. The rest of the patient was given only drugs.

As a result, the number of patients who took drugs with balloon augmentation decreased 3.5 times and the walking distance increased three times compared to patients who took only drugs.

In particular, there were no patients with more than 50% pain reduction in the simple drug administration group during the one-year follow-up, while 18.8% of patients with balloon expansion procedures maintained more than 50% pain reduction.

In addition, complications such as peritoneal perforation caused by balloon expansion and nerve damage caused by irritating pressure were not found.

In addition, to see if the patient's symptom and function improvement is due to increased free space in the intervertebral cavity, the contrast agent was administered before and after balloon expansion procedure, and the degree of contrast agent diffusion through three-dimensional images was compared, and the diameter of the intervertebral cavity increased by 28% and volume increased by 98% on average.

Most of the non-surgical treatments implemented in existing spinal stenosis patients had only short-term pain reduction effects and less functional improvement effects.

On the other hand, the new treatment was only for patients with incurable spinal stenosis, but it was also effective in improving their functions, including reducing chronic pain and improving walking distance.

Professor  Jin-woo Shin said, "Existing neuroinjection therapy and neuroplasty had limitations in improving chronic intractable patients, but this procedure was designed to enable both removal of existing physical adhesions and removal of adhesion by drugs, and added balloon extension to the end of the catheter, enabling safer and more effective adhesion removal and stenosis mitigation."

Along with these achievements, the Ministry of Health and Welfare recently recognized the stability and validity of the procedure and certified it as a new medical technology.

Meanwhile, the findings were published in the latest edition of the international journal Pain Physician.

Reporter Jung Seung-won