Disc decompression, or percutaneous disc decompression, a minimally-invasive surgery approach to pain management is accomplished by several different techniques today. In contrast to major back surgery, or open lumbar laminectomy, disk decompression is a short outpatient procedure that has minimal post procedure pain, minimal scarring, and rapid recovery. Also the patient is spared the morbidity and spinal instability that may result from extensive laminectomy.
The 2 most frequently used Disc Decompression techniques:
A plasma technology is used to remove tissue from the center of the disc. During the procedure, an instrument is introduced through a needle and placed into the center of the disc where a series of channels are created to remove tissue from the center of the disc. Tissue removal from the nucleus acts to decompress the disc and relieve the pressure exerted by the disc on the nearby nerve root. As pressure is relieved, pain is reduced. Also called Coblation Nucleoplasty, this technique was developed by Arthrocare. Essentially low frequency radio waves (100kHz) are used to carve channels into the disc by causing larger molecules to disintegrate into gases. The needle tip is placed in the outside lining of the disc and the nucleoplasty catheter is inserted. Catheter activation starts the coblation process which eradicates some of the disc. On each withdrawal of the catheter the channel shrinks down diameter, thereby decompressing the disc an additional amount. Usually 6-12channels are made in the disc. For patients with degenerative discs and annular tears, the tears themselves are targeted by using a steeper angle on the initial needle insertion. Since October 2000, this outpatient one hour procedure has helped over 100,000 patients avoid open surgical procedures.
The instrument most commonly used for this technique is the Dekompressor manufactured by Stryker. The Stryker Dekompressor is a single-use probe intended for percutaneous discectomies in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions of the spine. Under fluoroscopic imaging, the Dekompressor utilizes an Archimedes pump principle to remove disc material from bulging or contained herniated discs, reducing pressure in the disc and surrounding area and providing pain relief.
Two other disc decompression techniques are Radiofrequency Discal Nucleoplasty And Laser-Assisted Disk Decompression. More info at orthosupersite