Percutaneous Discectomy for a Herniated Disc
Percutaneous means "through the skin" or using a very small cut. Discectomy is surgery to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord.
There are many different kinds of percutaneous discectomy procedures. All of them use small instruments that are inserted between the vertebrae and into the middle of the disc. Most of the time they are done in a surgery center using local or general anesthesia.
X-rays help guide the movement of the instruments during surgery. The surgeon can remove disc tissue by either:
What To Expect After Surgery
You can expect to go home on the same day you have the procedure.
You can use prescription medicine to control pain while you recover.
For several weeks after surgery, you'll need to avoid long periods of sitting and avoid bending, twisting, and lifting.
Why It Is Done
Percutaneous discectomy may be done if:
It should not be done if you have:
How Well It Works
During a percutaneous discectomy, the surgeon has no way of seeing the herniated disc or the compressed nerve root.
The surgery might not remove the herniated disc. So there is no guarantee that pressure on the nerve will improve.
There are risks with anesthesia.
What To Think About
Many experts consider percutaneous discectomy to be a poor alternative to standard discectomy or microdiscectomy procedures.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.