Condoliase is a novel, potent chemonucleolytic drug available for clinical use for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in Japan. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical outcome of condoliase therapy in patients with LDH, as well as factors affecting the clinical outcome.
We enrolled patients with LDH who were receiving condoliase injection. The following baseline data were collected: symptom duration; herniation level and type; T2 signal intensity of herniation; adverse events; rates of spondylolisthesis, posterior intervertebral angle of ≥5°, and vertebral body translation of ≥3 mm. Change in disc height, disc degeneration, herniation size, visual analog scale (VAS) for leg and back pain, and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were evaluated at the baseline, and 3-month follow-up. These data were compared between patients with efficacious (VAS improvement of ≥20 mm; group E) and inefficacious (VAS improvement <20 mm or required operation; group I) for condoliase treatment.
Forty-seven patients (20 women, 27 men; mean age 48 years) were included. The herniation level was L2/3 in one patient, L3/4 in two, L4/5 in 23, and L5/S1 in 21. Median symptom duration was 8 months. The mean VAS and ODI improved significantly from the baseline to 3-month follow-up (p < 0.01). Group E included 33 patients (70.2%) and group I included 14, three of whom had a history of discectomy. The rates of spondylolisthesis and posterior intervertebral angle ≥5° were significantly higher in group I than in group E. However, the rates of trans-ligamentous type and herniation with high signal intensity on T2-weighted images (highT2) were significantly higher in group E. Reduction of disc herniation was more frequently observed in group E.
Condoliase injection resulted in significantly improved symptoms in patients with LDH. Condoliase therapy was less effective for patients with a history of discectomy, spondylolisthesis, or those with a posterior intervertebral angle ≥5°, while trans-ligamentous type and high T2 herniation were associated with increased efficacy.

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