Percutaneous Discectomy is an advanced procedure that decreases pressure on nerve roots from bulging or protruding discs. A patient that has not responded to epidural steroid injections may benefit from Percutaneous Discectomy through a treatment referred to as Nucleoplasty.
Bulging or herniated discs can exert pressure on nerves exiting the spine and can cause pain to radiate from there. This type of pain is called "radiculopathy." If the problem occurs in the lumbar (lower back) pain may radiate into the legs, which is sometimes referred to as sciatica.
Nucleoplasty is a method of reducing the size of the bulge or herniation, which relieves the pressure on the nerves and thus reduces the pain caused by the pressure. A needle that serves as a transmitter device is inserted into the affected disc. Heat energy from the transmitter dissolves small amounts of disc tissue and reduces the pressure on the nerve that is generating the pain. This minimally invasive procedure can be performed at an outpatient surgery center or an office equipped with the appropriate devices.
Patient recovery times range from two to four weeks. With a follow-up course of physical therapy many patients can return to their pre-injury activities.