Spine surgery can be very beneficial for many people suffering from radiating
pain caused by a herniated disc. The standard of care is to remove the
portion of the disc that is applying pressure to the nerves. This procedure
is referred to as a discectomy and typically requires the surgeon to make
an incision in the outer layer of the disc which is called the anulus
fibrosus. Previously, there has been no easy method to close the anulus
following the removal of the tissue. Therefore, surgeons commonly leave
the anulus to heal on its own.
Many patients find relief with this procedure, but for many others, the
disc could re-herniate through this opening in the anulus resulting in
continuing pain and potentially requiring additional surgery. Statistics
show that approximately 30% of patients have pain following a lumbar discectomy
and an estimated 15% of patients require a re-operation.
Today, there is a unique approach called Anular Disc Repair. This innovative
treatment is being performed at St. John’s Medical Center by spine
surgeon, Dr. Joshua Beck. After removing the offending portion of the
disc, Dr. Beck is able to re-approximate the soft tissue to facilitate
the healing process of the anulus fibrosus. The device designed to re-approximate
the soft tissue is the XcloseTM Plus Tissue Repair System developed by
Anulex Technologies, Inc.
“This makes perfect sense,” says Dr. Beck who is fellowship-trained
in spine surgery. “This procedure provides a unique new method for
treating the compromised tissue of the anulus fibrosus following a discectomy
procedure. Previously, we have not had a reliable method of closing the
anulus of the disc and when it is not repaired, the material inside may
re-extrude, compress the nerve root, and result in recurrent pain and
According to Dr. Beck, this Anular Disc Repair procedure adds minimal time
to the overall procedure and is easily completed. After the discectomy,
Dr. Beck uses the Xclose Plus Tissue Repair System to re-approximate the
soft tissue to facilitate the healing process. Patients are usually walking
the same day and commonly begin physical therapy and exercise within 10
days to two weeks.
For more information about this procedure, visit the website,