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Column Introducing our clinic Part 6: Comparing the Cellgel Method to other kinds of surgery

In today’s column, we will talk about the Cellgel Method and how it compares to conventional surgery at other clinics.

Check the last article out here: About the Cellgel Method

About International Lumbago Clinic Tokyo

Our clinic opened in September 2022 and specializes exclusively on solutions for lumbar pain. We are located in Minato Ward, Tokyo, a 7 minute walk from JR Shinagawa Station.

The best merit of the cellgel method! It’s minimally invasive!

Currently, the most commonly performed lumbar spine surgeries in Japan are decompression and fusion.

Broadly speaking, there are two types it seems!

When it comes to details, there are many more types, but this time we will compare these two methods with the cellgel method!

Before we compare, let me briefly talk about decompression and fixation.
Decompression surgery is a method of relieving pressure by removing the parts of the spinal canal that are causing pressure, such as bones, intervertebral discs, and ligaments.
There are two approaches: incision and endoscopy, and the incision method is the most commonly used in Japan.
The skin is incised and the bone (vertebral arch) is shaved. Then, the compressed area is removed.

The part causing pain is removed!
It seems really painful…

I agree
But, since anesthesia is used, you will not experience any pain during the surgery.

Next is fusion.
Fusion surgery is a method performed after decompression surgery for people with scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, or those who may develop spinal instability due to the decompression surgery.
Basically, it is done through an incision.
After the pressure is removed, metal is inserted into the body to correct and stabilize the spinal misalignment.

Fixation surgery is performed after decompression surgery.
Do you feel like when you were a child you had bad posture and a ruler was put in your body?

It might be easier to understand if you think of it as an internal version of that!
Now, let’s compare the cell gel method, decompression surgery, and fixation surgery with a comparison table!

itemCellgel methodDecompressionfixation
Elective procedure not covered by insurance: 1.42 million to 1.86 million (tax included) 
Average insurance coverage:
300,000 yen (in case of 30% burden)
Average insurance coverage:
300,000 yen (in case of 30% burden)
Period from initial consultation to treatmentSame-day treatment possibleAbout 3~4 weeksAbout 3~4 weeks
HospitalizationNot RequiredYes (about 1 week)Yes (about 1~2 weeks)
Time10 minutes per vertebrae60-90 minutes per vertebrae120-150 minutes per vertebrae
AnesthesiaLocal anesthesiaGeneral anesthesiaGeneral anesthesia
Size of skin woundAs small as a hypodermic needleSize of about 20~30mmSize of about 50~70mm
Bleeding Amount0 or 5~10ml50-100ml200ml
Surrounding TissueThere is no damage as only the needle is inserted.Damage occurs due to detachment of muscles, etc.Damage occurs due to detachment of muscles, etc.
Time to see an effect of the treatment1~3 months medium to long termImmediately Immediately
Postoperative changesIntervertebral disc repairInstability due to bone removal, etc.Improvement of spinal canal structure
Time to return to daily lifeAvailable from the next dayRequires about 1~2 weeksRequires about 3 weeks

*Based on average values ​​for general hospitals.

Looking at this, I feel that the cell-gel method has a shorter treatment time and less stress on the body!

That’s right!

Since there is no need to be hospitalized, the benefits are that the physical strength and muscle strength of the elderly won’t decrease due to the hospital stay and there is no need for general anesthesia, so there is less stress on the body.

Even if you have been suggested surgery but are unable to do so due to the high risk, you can still undergo the Cell-Gel method!

Also, even if you are busy with work, you can go home on the same day, so it has the advantage of reducing the impact on your daily life!

However, I feel that the disadvantages are that it is expensive and it takes a long time to see results…

The cost is unavoidable since it is not covered by insurance.

The reason the treatment takes time is because although surgery treats the cause of the pain, there is a risk of recurrence, but please understand that the Cellgel method treats the root cause so as not to cause pain in the future, so it takes time.

I see…
Then I would like to undergo the cellgel treatment.

Thank you!
In the next column, I’d like to explain about what happens on the day of your appointment, and the flow of how everything goes!

Next time: Flow of Treatment