Disc nucleoplasty therapy is a recently developed technique for the treatment of pain coming from a spinal disc. A special probe is inserted into the spinal disc and is used to remove a small amount of disc tissue from the disc nucleus and then to applied controlled thermal energy or heat to the disc. This causes the pressure within the disc wall to decrease and allows the disc to bulge or protrude less.
During The Procedure
The patient lies facedown on an x-ray table while numbing medication is injected into the targeted area. Using fluoroscopic guidance, an introducer needle is inserted into the sidewall of the disc. Then the nucleoplasty device is positioned through the needle to remove a small center portion of the disc. The tissue around the spot where tissue was removed is heated, the device and needle removed, and the site bandaged.
The procedure takes 60 minutes, with about 60 minutes recovery. Sedation is provided and discomfort during the procedure should be minimal. The patient must be driven home and should be able to resume normal activity the next day, although motion should be somewhat limited for at least the next two weeks.
There might be a mild flare-up of back pain for a few days after the procedure. Some patients might need extra medication during this time. Other patients feel better right away or within days. Outcomes vary widely; success is considered at least a 50 percent improvement in pain.