Can this procedure help you avoid disc surgery?

Can this procedure help you avoid disc surgery?

Ozone chemonucleolysis is an innovative and minimally invasive procedure used in the treatment of intervertebral disc prolapse, a common condition that can cause severe back pain and other related symptoms. This article provides an overview of ozone chemonucleolysis, covering its background, mechanism, research findings, procedural details, post-operative care, recovery time, complications, and recommended post-procedure exercises.

Introduction to Ozone:

Ozone is a naturally occurring molecule composed of three oxygen atoms. It is known for its strong oxidizing properties, which have been utilized in various medical applications, including disinfection and treatment of certain diseases. In recent years, ozone therapy has gained attention for its potential benefits in treating spinal conditions such as disc herniation.

History of Ozone Chemonucleolysis:

The use of ozone in treating disc herniation began in the late 20th century, with the first reported cases in Europe. Initially, the approach was viewed with skepticism, but over time, accumulating evidence has supported its efficacy and safety, leading to wider acceptance within the medical community.

Mechanism of Action:

In the context of intervertebral disc prolapse, ozone works by reducing inflammation and promoting disc shrinkage. When injected into the affected disc, ozone induces a chemical reaction that leads to dehydration of the nucleus pulposus (the inner core of the disc). This process reduces the disc’s volume, alleviating pressure on the surrounding nerves and, consequently, pain.

Research and Efficacy:

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ozone chemonucleolysis in relieving symptoms of disc herniation. Research indicates that ozone therapy can significantly reduce pain and improve quality of life for patients with disc prolapse, with success rates comparable to more invasive procedures like surgery.

The Procedure:

Ozone chemonucleolysis is performed under local anesthesia and guided by imaging techniques such as fluoroscopy or CT scan. A needle is carefully inserted into the affected disc, through which a precise amount of ozone gas is injected. The procedure is usually completed within an hour, allowing patients to return home the same day.

Post-Operative Care and Recovery:

After the procedure, patients may experience immediate pain relief, though some discomfort at the injection site is common. Recovery times vary but generally, patients can resume normal activities within a week. Adhering to the prescribed post-operative care plan is crucial for optimal recovery.


While ozone chemonucleolysis is considered safe, there are potential complications, including infection, discitis (inflammation of the disc), and temporary increase in pain. However, such complications are rare when the procedure is performed by a skilled practitioner.

Post-Procedure Exercises:

Rehabilitation plays a vital role in the recovery process. Specific exercises designed to strengthen the back and core muscles, improve flexibility, and promote proper posture are recommended post-procedure. A physical therapist can tailor an exercise program to meet the individual needs of each patient.


ozone chemonucleolysis represents a promising, less invasive alternative for treating intervertebral disc prolapse. With its proven efficacy, minimal recovery time, and low complication rate, it offers patients a viable option for pain relief and improved function. As research continues to evolve, the potential applications and benefits of ozone therapy in spinal conditions are likely to expand further.

Dr Santhosh Jacob

Minimal Access Orthopedic & Sports Surgeon

Subscribe My Youtube Channel

Book An Appointment

    Follow Me on Facebook