Percutaneous Discectomy – Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

Percutaneous Discectomy for a herniated disc is NOT the same as ACDF which is an “Open” procedure requiring an incision through the front of the neck. Percutaneous means (Through the skin), and is done by using tubes of varying diameter (think small drinking straw). First a needle is placed under Fluoroscopy to the precise location, then tubes of increasing diameter are placed over the needle and withdrawn one at a time. This dilates the muscle tissue (without tearing it). Once the proper size tube is in place the procedure may begin. Percutaneous Discectomy avoids cutting muscles and speeds recovery time. This procedure does not completely remove a damaged disc, it only removes the herniated portion and some of the disc tissue needed to release pressure inside the disc so it may heal and recover. This is NOT fusion! This is an outpatient (same day) surgery where only the herniated portion of the disc is removed.

Excerpt from WebMD explaining Percutaneous Discectomy

In percutaneous discectomy, the surgeon uses continuous X-ray monitoring to follow movement in the body (fluoroscopy). During fluoroscopy, X-rays are directed at your spine, and the resulting pictures are displayed on a monitor similar to a TV screen. The surgeon will make a small incision in your back and insert instruments that are used to remove all or part of the herniated disc.

Fluoroscopy is the same process used when administering epidural injections or facet joint blocks. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure with very low risk of complications. Percutaneous discectomy is done if: the history, physical examination, and imaging (such as CT scan or MRI) indicate that the disc is bulging, and the material inside the disc (nucleus) has not ruptured into the spinal canal. Pain and nerve damage have not improved after 4 or more weeks of nonsurgical treatment, and symptoms are severe and disabling. There are signs of serious nerve damage (that may be getting worse) in the leg, such as severe weakness, loss of coordination, or loss of feeling. Pain is severe and disabling.” If you are not able or willing to have a discectomy or microdiscectomy (a procedure used on the discs of the lower back).

Before you consent to Spinal Fusion ask your doctor if this is an option for you! Information on Surgeons performing these proceedures may be obtained at American Academy of Minimally Invasive Spinal Medicine and Surgery.

Posted by on Jul 16th, 2008 and filed under Back Pain, Neck Pain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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