Percutaneous discectomy (percutaneous means ‘through the skin’) is a therapeutic treatment for patients suffering from low back and leg (radicular) pain due to contained herniated discs. The procedure is for those who have had failed conservative treatments and are interested in trying minimally invasive options prior to considering traditional back surgery.
There is very little preparation needed for this procedure. In fact, you may decide to go ahead with this procedure during your initial consultation in our Midtown Manhattan outpatient clinic. The procedure will be fully explained to you before you decide to proceed.
Please bring any previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, x-rays) such as films, reports, or CD-ROMs to your initial appointment. If you do not have current images, we may refer you to have them done prior to the procedure.
If you come by car, you will need a driver to take you home after your appointment. You will be able to go home unaccompanied via subway or taxi.
Please notify our physician if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
Please be prepared to discuss any medications that you are currently on with our physician, or bring you medication bottles with you to your appointment.
During the Procedure
Discectomy is generally performed in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) or local surgery center, where we're able to offer IV sedation and monitoring by a nurse.
Once you arrive, you will be given an IV and a light sedative, if desired and appropriate.
Your physician will review all current prescriptions, MRIs, x-rays and reports.
The procedure will be performed under x-ray-guidance (fluoroscopy) to verify accurate positioning of the discectomy probe.
The discectomy probe removes disc tissue, which may relieve painful pressure on the surrounding nerves.
The procedure generally takes 15 minutes to an hour.
Throughout the procedure, we will monitor your condition and comfort level closely.
You will be asked to rest in our recovery area until you are ready to go home.
After the Procedure
We will provide patients with activity and physician rehabilitation guidelines.
Adult supervision is necessary for the remainder of the day due to the effects of sedation.
Apply ice to the area for 1-2 hours per day for 3 days.
Prescription medications may be given to relieve any pain symptoms.
With appropriate follow-up care, pain will be reduced.
Physical therapy and home exercise is optimal for your speedy recovery.