PURPOSE: To prospectively compare the clinical effectiveness of intraforaminal and intradiscal injections of a mixture of a steroid, a local anesthetic, and oxygen-ozone (O(2)-O(3)) (chemodiscolysis) versus intraforaminal and intradiscal injections of a steroid and an anesthetic in the management of radicular pain related to acute lumbar disk herniation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Medical Ethical Committee approval and informed consent were obtained. One hundred fifty-nine patients (86 men, 73 women; age range, 18-71 years) were included and were randomly assigned to two groups. Seventy-seven patients (group A) underwent intradiscal and intraforaminal injections of a steroid and an anesthetic, and 82 patients (group B) underwent the same treatment with the addition of an O(2)-O(3) mixture. Procedures were performed with computed tomographic guidance. An Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire was administered before treatment and at intervals, the last at 6-month follow-up. Patients and clinicians were blinded as to which treatment was performed. Results were compared with the chi(2) test. RESULTS: After 6 months, treatment was successful in 36 (47%) patients in group A and in 61 (74%) patients in group B. The difference was significant (P < .01). CONCLUSION: Intraforaminal and intradiscal injections of a steroid, an anesthetic, and O(2)-O(3) are more effective at 6 months than injections of only a steroid and an anesthetic in the same sites.
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