anyone heard of BIACUPLASTY??? axiaLIF fusion????
Has anyone out there heard of / had this fairly new treatment for discogenic pain ( pain suspected to be coming from a degenerated disc )?? This technique involves essentially heating up the disc using radiofrequency in order to destroy the pain-transmitting nerves inside the disc. The "theory" being: if you kill the nerve, you won't feel pain there. However, I've read that nerves can grow back so the pain could return after ~1 year. Also, my fear is that the "cooking" of this disc could dry the disc up even faster, leaving me with worse degeneration. Also, since the doctor says I have a "radial fissure" through the disc, I've heard that there is one school of thought that the fissures can widen when you apply heat energy to it. Sounds like a lot of downside even though many are touting this as an effective, evidence-based treatment. The problem I see is that it is sooo new and, from what I know, no randomized control- sham studies have been conducted as yet. The only "evidence" I've come across is a sample size of 14 people, of which 8 improved >50%, but 7 did not. It doesn't sound like clear evidence to me that this is effective.
My surgeon suggested to try it anyways because it should not make me "worse"; it just may not make me better. It's $3000.00 and not covered by my insurance. The other option / next option is an extension of my existing fusion ( already L4-5 is fused ) down to S1 ( which I'm terrrified of ). I'm not sure if I should just skip this biacuplasty and go for the fusion and get it over with. Doesn't this biacuplasty just buy me some time?
Also, if I get another fusion, I've heard of this new kind-- axiaLIF fusion whereby they go upwards under the tip of your sacrum ( tailbone) and drill a screw that allows for fusion between L5 and S1. It's the most minimally invasive fusion I know. It only involves a 1 inch incision and does not involving cutting through muscle on the back or moving aside nerve roots. It's apparently only an 1 hr long surgery. Has anyone had experience with this fusion-- good / bad???