What is Disc Decompression?
Disc decompression is a minimally invasive outpatient spinal procedure to treat painful discs in the spine. Disc decompression requires only local anesthetic and mild sedation, alleviating the possible complications of open surgery and general anesthesia.
How Disc Decompression is Performed
The disc decompression procedure is a brief 30- to 45-minute outpatient, x-ray guided minimally invasive spinal surgery. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and light intravenous sedation, so you are relaxed and comfortable. After you are positioned face down on the table, the doctor cleans the skin using an antiseptic.
A cannula with needle is positioned into the painful disc under real-time x-ray. Disc decompression involves removing a portion of the nucleus pulposus material. After reliving pressure on the nerve, the probe is removed, and the site is covered with a bandage.
Benefits of Disc Decompression over Back Surgery
The benefit of a disc decompression procedure is that it is equally effective as an open laminectomy or discectomy, and it allows for a much more rapid recovery. Many patients achieve pain relief without having to undergo serious back surgery.
Who is a Candidate for Disc Decompression?
A disc decompression is performed on people who have radicular pain, which is pain that radiates along the spinal nerve distribution pathway. Candidates for this procedure include:
- Anyone with a herniated disc of the lumbar spine who has pain radiating down the leg.
- Anyone with a herniated disc of the cervical spine who has pain radiating down the arm.
- Patients who failed to improve with usual conservative treatment modalities, such as physical therapy, spine injections, and medications.
- Patients with mild to moderate spinal disease.
- Patients with a positive discogram that confirms the target disc is the cause of the pain.
Disc Decompression Recovery
The recovery following disc decompression is quite rapid. Since disc decompression is performed without anesthesia, you get up and walk out from the surgical center within 1-2 hours of completion.
We recommend that you rest for 5-10 days while you work with a physical therapist to strengthen weakened leg and back muscles. In addition, therapy helps improve flexibility and range of motion.
How Effective is Disc Decompression?
According to a recent clinical study, patients who had single-level lumbar decompression without discectomy had similar post-surgical outcomes as those persons who underwent discectomy and laminotomy. In addition, disc decompression patients enjoy reduced pain and early mobilization along with a satisfactory functional and neurological outcome.
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