Medical treatment methods evolve at lightning speed. This is definitely the case in neurosurgery, a medical area of expertise that strongly relies on high-tech equipment.
The neurosurgery team of the OLV Hospital in Aalst closely follows all new developments and starts applying new insights and techniques that considerably improve the patient's treatment or comfort as soon as possible.
By way of illustration: the OLV Hospital was one of 40 centres worldwide that started working with the Barricaid® implant during a study period. This implant had been developed to reduce the risk of a recurrent herniated disc (i.e. the intervertebral disc starting to bulge again).
A herniated disc usually occurs following a rupture in the outer fibrous ring (annulus) of the intervertebral disc, causing part of the soft centre (nucleus) to bulge. This protrusion exercises pressure on the nearby nerves, which results in pain, weakness or insensitivity in legs and lower back. This is corrected by removing the protrusion by surgery.
What is a recurrent herniated disc?
Usually, if a herniated disc is removed, there will still be an opening, defect or weak spot in the wall of the annulus. It may happen that after a while the remaining nucleus starts bulging again via this defect or another weakened part of the annulus. This is called a recurrent herniated disc.
Barricaid®: a ‘plug' in the weak spot of the annulus
The Barricaid® implant was designed to limit the risk of such recurrent herniated disc. It acts like a kind of ‘plug' in the weak spot of the annulus.
No extra surgery required
The Barricaid® implant is placed immediately after the removal of the protrusion, exactly in the defect or weakened spot of the annulus, and solidly fixed onto the adjoining bone. This short procedure is executed as part of the discectomy so that no additional surgery is required. It is recommended to consult with your hospitalisation insurance on the repayment of this implant.
Results of the Barricaid® study period in the OLV Hospital
The neurosurgery department of the OLV Hospital is one of 40 centres worldwide that extensively tested this Barricaid® implant over the past 5 years. The results in patients being followed up for 2 years are known: a considerable reduction of the number of recurrent herniated discs in patients that had the Barricaid® implant inserted as additional treatment.