Percutaneous Discectomy

Percutaneous Discectomy

Percutaneous discectomy is a type of minimally invasive spine surgery involving a small skin incision to access a disc.  Percutaneous means through the skin—a tiny incision.  Sometimes this procedure is called Percutaneous Disc Decompression.  The term discectomy means to remove a damaged intervertebral disc. A damaged disc can compress a spinal nerve and cause inflammation and pain.

When Percutaneous Discectomy May be Recommended

Back and/or leg pain can be caused by a bulging disc.  A disc bulges through the annulus fibrosus—the tough outer band around the nucleus pulposus (eg, gel-like center of a disc).  A bulging disc is also acontained disc disorder.

About Percutaneous Discectomy

Percutaneous discectomy is performed in a sterile setting, such as an outpatient facility.  Patients undergo the procedure and are released home the same day.  At the outpatient facility, the patient changes into a gown and lies down.  Medications are administered locally (eg, Lidocaine numbs the skin) and intravenously to promote relaxation and pain-free sleep throughout the surgery.

The skin area is thoroughly cleansed using a sterile soap.  A tiny incision is made through the skin, and an endoscope (ie, miniature scope fitted with a camera) is advanced through the incision.  The damaged disc material is removed using a laser and/or tiny grasping tools.  The tiny incision is closed and covered with a sterile bandage.

Procedure benefits include:

  • Tiny incision
  • Small instruments
  • Muscles and soft tissues are preserved
  • Anesthesia is gentle
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Same day surgery
  • Faster recovery

Before and After Percutaneous Discectomy

Well in advance of the date of surgery, Dr. Colon and his staff help their patients prepare for surgery.  Preparing for surgery may include eating nutritious meals to speed healing, arranging for transportation to and from the facility, and limiting activities during a brief period of recovery. Dr. Colon’s staff provides detailed information and takes all the time necessary to answer the patient’s questions.

Dr. Colon’s Approach to Surgical Recommendation

Although percutaneous discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure, it still is a spine surgery, and not every patient with back or leg pain is a suitable candidate.  Jose Colon, MD is very skilled and knowledgeable about performing this surgery and only recommends the procedure to patients he carefully selects.

Dr. Colon only recommends a treatment after a meticulous review of the patient’s medical history, symptoms, and test results (eg, MRI).  The results of the patient’s physical and neurological examination, imaging tests (eg, MRI), and outcomes of prior non-operative treatments are compared and analyzed before surgery can be considered a treatment choice.