Update on chemonucleolysis

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53 Scopus citations


A review of the world medical literature on chemonucleolysis with an emphasis on recent studies, meta-analyses, and the history of the procedure in North America from a regulatory, social, and medicolegal perspective was performed to determine the current status of chemonucleolysis in the management of disc displacement. The world literature supports the use of chymopapain for chemonucleolysis as a safe and effective alternative to surgical disc excision. The efficacy of chymopapain has been shown by prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials with a minimum 10-year follow-up period. The safety of chymopapain injection compared with surgery has been demonstrated in mete-analyses and in extensive post-marketing surveillance in the United States and Europe. Clinical studies with collagenase and laboratory studies with chondroitinase ABC have shown that chemonucleolysis can be performed with enzymes other than chymopapain. Clinical trials have been performed with collagenase for chemonucleolysis, but all of the results have not been published. Preclinical research with chondroitinase ABC has demonstrated its usefulness for chemonucleolysis in the animal model, but human trials have not begun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62S-68S
Issue number24 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Dec 15 1996


  • chemonucleolysis
  • chondroitinase
  • chymopapain
  • collagenase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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