Systematic literature review.
This study provided a systematic review of randomized controlled trials which assessed the therapeutic effects of stem cell treatments, surgical interventions, and nonsurgical treatments on the outcomes of patients diagnoses with intervertebral disk degeneration (IDD).
A MEDLINE (2000-2017), PubMed (2000-2017), and Google scholar (1995-2000) database search was performed to identify published articles reporting on patient-reported clinical outcomes. A total of 12 articles were identified and met the inclusion criteria.
Literature evaluating the comparative treatment outcomes between patients who underwent surgical versus nonsurgical interventions demonstrated mixed findings in treatment efficacy. Although studies involving the manipulation of endogenous stem cells in fibrocartilage suggested that this application could be a potentially noninvasive, stem cell–based strategy to treat fibrocartilage degeneration, especially in patients with IDD.
The reviewed literature suggested that no clinical significance exists between surgical and nonsurgical treatment for IDD. The decision to undergo surgical or conservative treatment should depend on the patient’s state of health at the time of surgery, as well as any other potentially alarming factors (altered mental status, level of consciousness, comorbidities, etc) that could be exacerbated with the proposed treatment. Mesenchymal stem cells and fibrocartilage stem cells may also be an effective therapeutic option for the regeneration of a degenerated intervertebral disk. To move forward in finding an effective therapeutic treatment protocol for IDD, further research needs to be implemented that minimizes the limitation discussed in this review.
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