What is a nucleoplasty procedure and how does it help with my neck and back pain?
A nucleoplasty, also known as percutaneous disc decompression is an option to treat sciatic nerve pain by removing the disc tissue that is pressing the nerve. When a disc ruptures or bulges, it can press on your sciatic nerve, which may cause:
- Burning sensation
- Tingling sensation
- Shooting pain
in your back and/or lower limbs.
How is nucleoplasty performed?
A nucleoplasty procedure:
- Takes less than an hour to complete
- Will be performed under light sedation and local anaesthesia
- A specialized needle will be placed into the disc with X-Ray guidance
- By using the laser or plasma energy that creates a vacuum suction effect, it shrinks the tissues of the disc
- This reduces the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, leading to the improvement in sciatica and neck/back pain
After the procedure, you will be able to return to your normal daily activities with a little pain or soreness which usually resolves over the next 2 weeks. Your usual pain can be immediate or gradually improve in the next 2-3 weeks. Follow-up visits and compliance with a recommended physical therapy course will help with your full recovery.
Am I a good candidate for nucleoplasty?
This might be the right treatment for you if you:
- Have herniated discs that are not too ruptured or compressed
- Have seen little or no improvement with medications, physical therapy and spinal injections
What are the possible risks?
Generally, nucleoplasty is a safe and effective treatment, with no risk of paralysis if done by an expert. Possible risks are minor and occur infrequently:
- Soreness or bruising where the needle is injected
- Infection at the injection point
What should I expect after the procedure?
You might experience some increased pain during the first couple of days, which can be relieved with medications.
Your doctor will map out a course of treatments, including:
- Easy stretching exercise
- Physical therapy
- Avoidance of heavy lifting, bending and prolonged sitting
- Refrain from any strenuous sports like running, golf, tennis etc.
Your compliance with your doctor’s recommendation for the first few months is necessary for an optimal recovery outcome.
Every condition is different, hence it is best to consult a specialist who is experienced in managing such conditions. Reach out to Dr Timothy Thor today.