Background: Chemonucleolysis with condoliase, which degrades chondroitin sulfate, could be a new, minimally invasive therapeutic option for patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH). The purpose of this study was to analyze prognostic factors for clinical outcomes in LDH patients subjected to chemonucleolysis with condoliase. Methods: Inclusion criteria for this procedure were 1) 18–70 years of age; 2) unilateral leg pain and positive straight leg raise (SLR) (<70°) or femoral nerve stretching test; 3) subligamentous extrusion verified on magnetic resonance imaging; 4) neurological symptoms consistent with a compressed nerve root on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images; and 5) minimum six months of follow-up. In total, 82 patients (55 men, 27 women; mean age, 47.2 ± 15.5 years; mean follow-up, 9.1 ± 3.0 months) who underwent chemonucleolysis with condoliase for painful LDH were included. An improvement of 50% or more in the Visual analogue scale (VAS) of leg pain was classified as effective. Results: Seventy patients (85.4%) were classified into the effective (E) group and 12 patients (14.6%) into the less-effective (L) group. Surgical treatment was required in four patients. No severe adverse complications were reported; 41.3% of the patients developed disc degeneration of Pfirrmann grade 1 or more at the injected disc level. Univariate analysis revealed that young age (p = 0.036), without history of epidural or nerve root block (p = 0.024), and injection into the central portion of the intervertebral disc (p = 0.014) were significantly associated with clinical effectiveness. A logistic regression analysis revealed that injection into the central portion of the intervertebral disc (p = 0.049; odds ratio, 4.913; 95% confidence interval, 1.006–26.204) was significantly associated with clinical effectiveness. Conclusions: Chemonucleolysis with condoliase is a safe and effective treatment for painful LDH; 85.4% of the patients showed improvement after the treatment without severe adverse events. To obtain the best outcome, condoliase should be injected into the center of the intervertebral disc.
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