The percutaneous discectomy procedure is performed on patients with a spinal disc compressing the nerve root. This often leads to low back pain, leg pain and even weakness typically caused by a herniated disc. This type of procedure is often performed on patients with swollen spinal discs that have no damage to the exterior disc wall.
Percutaneous discectomies are minimally invasive procedures. This means patients will have smaller incisions compared to open discectomies, and may experience less blood loss and overall faster recovery times. It is a highly successful procedure that can give patients a significant reduction in back and leg pain.
Patients are positioned face down for the procedure. The affected area is cleansed with an antiseptic solution to minimize the risk of infection. Patients do not need to be put under general anesthesia, but local anesthetic may be injected into the area. Once it has taken full effect, the physician can use a fluoroscope to guide a needle into the spine. A fluoroscope is similar to an X-ray that gives real-time feedback to the physician about the exact location of the needle. Once it is in the correct location, the physician can begin to decompress the spinal disc. The exact method or approach used may vary from physician to physician. Once the procedure is complete, a small bandage will be placed over the area and the patient is briefly monitored as he or she comes off of the anesthesia.
Patients may be allowed to return home the same day of the procedure. The Orthopedic and Wellness physicians tell patients to expect a little soreness around the area, but this can be managed using pain medication. Patients should spend the first week resting, but can typically continue day-to-day activities after the recovery period. All post-operative instructions should be followed closely to avoid post-operative complications. Complications from this procedure are rare, but our physicians advise patients to call Orthopedic and Wellness at the first sign of any complication. Follow up visits may be necessary to monitor the healing progress. At these visits, the physician can determine next steps for the treatment plan, including if the patient will need post-operative physical therapy.