Percutaneous Laser Discectomy

Percutaneous Laser Discectomy

A percutaneous laser discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure which uses a small needle and advanced laser technology to reduce a herniated disc, quickly relieving pain in most patients.  The procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis using a gentle, relaxing medicine and local anesthetic.  After some anesthetic is injected to numb the area, a thin needle called a cannula is inserted through the back and into the herniated disc.  The surgeon uses x-ray images to guide the placement of the cannula.

A small laser probe is carefully inserted through the cannula and into the disc during a percutaneous laser discectomy.  Pulses of laser light are shined into the problem area of the disc.  The laser light creates enough heat to shrink the disc wall area.  The patient may feel some pain during the procedure, which is an indication that the treatment is being applied to the appropriate area.  The probe and needle are removed, and the insertion area in the skin is covered with a small bandage.  Because no muscled or bone are cut during the procedure, recovery is fast and scarring is minimized.  The patient may need a day of bed rest after the procedure, as well as physical therapy.  Most may return to normal activities within on to six weeks.

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