Herniated discs can be painful, but thanks to a relatively new medical procedure called a Percutaneous Discectomy, you may be able to find relief in just a single visit to the doctor. If you’re experiencing back pain caused by a herniated disc, a Percutaneous Discectomy may be your best option for quickly getting rid of your symptoms.
What is a Herniated Disc?
The goal of a Percutaneous Discectomy is the removal of the part of a herniated disc that is pinching a nerve. Your spinal column consists of an alternating pattern of bony vertebrae and supportive discs. These discs consist of a soft, malleable center and a harder, more solid shell. Also known as a slipped, protruded or ruptured disc, herniated discs occur when the delicate center (nucleus pulposus) escapes through a crack or hole in the exterior (annular fibers).
While some cases of herniated discs might be harmless, others may put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness/instability in the arms or legs. In these instances, a Percutaneous Discectomy may be needed to correct the problem.
What Happens During the Procedure?
Our Double Board Certified Physician performs a Percutaneous Discectomy using a small needle to reach the affected disc, guided by a live x-ray feed called fluoroscopy. Once the needle is in place, a small, rotating probe is embedded inside, allowing the doctor to carefully remove tiny pieces of the disc. These holes relieve the herniation, un-pinching affected nerves while still allowing the spine to maintain its structure and integrity.
Percutaneous Discectomies typically require less 30-45 minutes and are fairly simple outpatient procedures. As such, only local anesthesia to the affected area is required to eliminate any pain the treatment might cause. This not only avoids the dangers associated with general anesthesia, but means that patients can usually return to their daily lives within a few days after the procedure is performed.
What are the Typical Results?
Percutaneous Discectomies are a highly successful option for treating herniated discs, and have been proven to reduce pain and increase function nearly 90 percent of the time. Because this treatment option is still relatively new, that number is also expected to continue to grow. There is virtually no scar because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, which also greatly lowers the chances of complications when compared with discectomies that are performed using open surgery techniques.
Am I a Viable Candidate?
Most doctors will not perform a discectomy before attempting more traditional treatment options like pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture or Cortisone injections first. This is to avoid unnecessary corrections to the disc if you are only suffering from a minor or temporary disc disorder like a bulging disc, which generally do not protrude far enough out of the shell to cause any lasting pain. You should always consult with your doctor about all of your symptoms to determine if you have a herniated disc before deciding to undergo a Percutaneous Discectomy.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’re ready for rapid relief from your herniated disc pain, contact Wesley Chapel Spine & Sports Medicine to see if a Percutaneous Discectomy might be the right treatment option for you. Call 727-END PAIN to set up a complimentary consultation.