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What is Minimally Invasive Disc Decompression?

This minimally invasive procedure reduces pressure on the nerve root by removing disc nucleus and provides a highly effective treatment for relieving pain due to contained disc herniations.

Who is a candidate for Disc Decompression?

A disc decompression is performed on patients who are experiencing “radicular” pain, which is defined as pain that radiates along the distribution of a spinal nerve root. An example would be a patient with a herniated disc in the lumbar spine who has low back pain that radiates down the leg to the foot.

How is this procedure done?

Disc Decompression is a relatively brief 20-30 minute outpatient, X-Ray guided procedure that is performed under local anesthesia, occasionally supplemented with the administration of intravenous sedation to relax the patient. General anesthesia is NOT required for Disc Decompression, and therefore the recovery from this procedure is quite rapid.

Does this procedure hurt?

Disc Decompression is a well-tolerated procedure offered to adult patients of all ages. Because it is minimally invasive, Disc Decompression can be performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center. Some patients experience an increase in back pain for a few days but most patients are back to work quickly.

What should I do to prepare for my procedure?

You should not eat or drink anything at all after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure. You must have a responsible adult available to drive you home. Take your usual medications with a small sip of water.

How rapid is the recovery after Disc Decompression?

The immediate recovery from this procedure is quite rapid. Since Disc Decompression can be performed without general anesthesia, patients generally get up and walk out of the surgery center within an hour of completion of the procedure. Most patients will return to work within 7-10 days following Disc Decompression. Occasionally physical therapy is required after disc decompression to help strengthen a patient’s weakened back and/or leg muscles and to teach a patient how to avoid recurrence of the condition that precipitated the need for this procedure.

Could there be side effects or complications?

Modern medicine has improved the safety in every aspect of patient care. However, there is no guarantee of a perfect outcome with any test or procedure. Fortunately the side effects and complication profile for Disc Decompression is very low. The doctor will discuss this issue with you before the procedure.

What are the chances that Disc Decompression will work to relieve my pain?

This procedure has been performed with variations in technique for decades. Most studies confirm that Disc Decompression is safe and very effective in treating disc-related back and leg pain for well-selected patients.

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