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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1984 Mar;9(2):195-8.

A comparison of surgery and chemonucleolysis in the treatment of sciatica. A prospective randomized trial.


Fifty-two patients with unilateral sciatica caused by intervertebral disc herniation were selected on strict clinical and radiological criteria. All patients had failed to respond to conservative measures. Patients in this trial group randomly were allocated surgery or Chymopapain. During the same period, a further 71 patients, who were put forward for the trial, and did not fulfill the trial criteria, were offered Chymopapain as an alternative to surgery. Both groups were assessed at one month, three months, and one year--progress being recorded by clinical examination and visual analogs. The failure rate in the two Chymopapain groups were comparable, with 52% and 47%, but were significantly higher than the surgical group (11%). Surgery in the failed Chymopapain group frequently was delayed and unrewarding. Failures can be predicted at one month posttreatment, and early surgery may be indicated to prevent chronic scarring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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