Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure

Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure : The spine is made up of bony vertebrae. There are soft rubbery structures called discs between each vertebra. When the inside of the disc protrudes into the spinal canal, it puts pressure on the nerves and irritates the nerves. This causes pain in the back, legs, neck, or arms.

A percutaneous discectomy is a procedure whereby part of a herniated disc that is irritating a nerve is removed, resulting in pain relief.

A percutaneous discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to reduce a herniated disc to cause pain relief.

Who is an ideal candidate for percutaneous discectomy?

Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure

Percutaneous discectomy is usually recommended for patients who have not had successful pain relief from other conservative treatments such as from medications, physical therapy or nerve blocks.

What conditions can percutaneous discectomy help with?

Percutaneous discectomy is typically performed for degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of chronic neck and back pain. It also accounts for approximately 10% of all lower back pain.

Degenerative disc disease may be acute herniation resulting from trauma, or from chronic disease.

Percutaneous discectomy may also provide pain relief for the following conditions:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis with herniation
  • Osteoporosis

It could also help with other conditions that cause degeneration in the spine or the intervertebral discs.

Preparations for percutaneous discectomy

Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure

Talk with your doctor about medications that you’re currently taking before your procedure.

Inform your doctor if you have any allergies.

You may need to stop taking blood-thinning medications to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for medications and food before your procedure.

How is percutaneous discectomy performed?

Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure

The procedure involves the use of a single-use probe called the Stryker Dekompressor.

You will need to lie down on your stomach. Your doctor will clean the injection site and administer a local anesthetic to numb pain and make you feel comfortable.

Using X-ray guidance, a larger needle will be directed into the affected disc. Your doctor will insert the probe through the needle. The probe uses a pump method to remove excessive disc material from bulging, thus reducing pressure in the disc to provide pain relief. 

After the procedure

Recovery is fast because no muscles or bone are cut during the procedure. Most patients go home within hours after the procedure.

Most patients can resume work and normal activities within three to five days following their procedure.

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to control pain during your recovery period.

Avoid long periods of sitting, bending, twisting, and lifting, for several weeks.

Physical therapy may be necessary to help you develop greater strength in your back or legs, and to prevent a reoccurrence.


Percutaneous discectomy is very effective in reducing pain and medication requirements. It increases function in up to 90% of patients.

A percutaneous discectomy is a low-risk treatment option for neck and back pain. It helps to reduce pain, increase mobility, and eliminate the need for long-term medications and surgical interventions.

It is minimally invasive and causes much less scarring than with other interventions.

A study in 2018 shows that 93% of patients reported positive outcomes from percutaneous discectomy.

Side effects

Percutaneous Discectomy : Conditions, Preparations and Procedure

The most common complaint shortly after the procedure is mild back pain at the injection site.

Other more serious and less common complications include:

  • Spinal cord compression
  • Bleeding
  • Excessive intracranial pressure
  • Hematoma
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetic
  • Infection
  • Failure to remove all bulging disc tissue

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