Benefits of Percutaneous Discectomy

Benefits of Percutaneous Discectomy

Herniated disks can be a major cause of debilitating back pain.  There are small disks that lie between the vertebrae to help cushion the spine.  As people age, wear and tear become more apparent on the body.  Herniated disks are often a result of aging in humans.  As we age, the disks become less cushioned and more prone to herniation.  Disk herniation is extremely painful and can stop people from taking part in everyday activities.  Percutaneous diseconomy is one of the treatment options available to ease the pain of a herniated disk.

Percutaneous discectomy includes removing the part of the herniated disk that presses on the nerve root.  This is a minimally invasive procedure which has the ability to greatly reduce pain.  It is performed by placing a needle in the center of the disk to remove tissue, thus decompressing the herniated disk.  Patients can utilize sedation if the process is too uncomfortable.


Not all people who suffer from spinal pain are candidates for percutaneous discectomy.  Patients who have disk fragments in the spinal canal or who have spinal stenosis are not considered candidates.  The primary candidates for this procedure are patients who experience a significant amount of pain due to a herniated disk that has created a small disk bulge.

Percutaneous discectomy typically takes less than an hour, with the patient being required to stay at the facility for up to 2-3 hours after the procedure is completed.  The process is outpatient and patients should be able to return to everyday activities within a few weeks.  There may be some pain during the recovery period and long periods of sitting or lifting should be avoided.  Most patients will see their pain greatly reduced after undergoing percutaneous discectomy.

While percutaneous discectomy is minimally invasive and poses significantly fewer risks than spinal surgery, it does still come with its own risks.  One of these risks is that because the physician cannot actually see the herniated disc, there is no guarantee the procedure will actually work.  There are also risks any time any form of anesthesia is used.

One of the main benefits of percutaneous discectomy is that only part of the herniated disk is removed, thus allowing the disk to remain and keep the spine stable.  During open spinal surgeries for herniated disks, the disk may be removed which destabilizes the spine and create even more problems down the road.

Pain alone is typically not a reason to consider percutaneous discectomy.  Those patients who are candidates should try medication, physical therapy, and other less invasive procedures before resulting to percutaneous discectomy.  However, for those patients who have tried less invasive procedures, percutaneous discectomy should be discussed before resulting to surgery.  The Illinois Pain Institute has seen great recovery from their patients who have undergone the procedure.  Unmanageable pain can be life-altering in a very negative way.  Fortunately, with advances in medicine, procedures such as percutaneous discectomy allow patients to experience a significant pain reduction without the dangers of spinal surgery.