Percutaneous Discectomy


Disc Decompression Procedure Animation

Nearly 10 million people suffer from lower back and leg pain caused by a herniated disc. Percutaneous disc decompression is a minimally invasive procedure which is employed to reduce pressure inside the intervertebral discs to relieve back pain radiating down the leg (scaitica). As no incision is made, the recovery is much faster and easier than traditional open surgery methods.

The back bone of the body is called the spine and is composed of bony segments called vertebrae which are joined together by fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs. The intervertebral discs are made out of strong connective tissue and act as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. The outer layer of the disc, annulus fibrosis,  is tough while the center of the each disc is composed of fluid matrix, called nucleus pulposus. Herniated disc, also called ruptured or slipped disc and herniated nucleus pulposus, occurs when all or part of the nucleus pulposus is forced through the disc’s weakened or torn outer anulus fibrosus. When this happens, the extruded disc may impinge on spinal nerve roots, resulting in back pain and other signs of nerve root irritation.

A herniated disc can be diagnosed by physical examination, medical images and nerve studies. Depending on the location of the affected disc in the spine, pain symptoms may also be felt in the arms or legs along with numbness, tingling, and burning.

Percutaneous disc decompression is a minimally invasive procedure used to decompress herniated discs that have bulged but are not ruptured. The procedure is done with a small cannula with no incision. Before performing PDD, the skin over the treatment area is sterilized and anesthetized. A cannula is inserted into the bulging disc with the help of live X-ray images from fluoroscope X-ray. Then either by mechanical decompression or by radio waves tissue is dissolved/removed, more space is created in the disc that in turn reduces pressure in the disc and decreases the disc bulge.

No stitches are required and the insertion area is covered with a small bandage. After PDD procedure, the patient is sent home to rest for a day or two with reduced activity for about a week and usually followed with physical therapy.

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