Percutaneous Laser Discectomy is used to treat herniated discs that only show a small amount of damage to the disc material.To give you a better understanding on how a herniated disc occurs we will have a quick discussion about the spine in general.
The human spine is made up of 33 individual bony vertebrae and is most commonly referred to as the spinal column. Its main purpose is to support your body and allow you to stand, sit, bend and twist, while protecting your spinal cord from any damage or injury that these movements may cause.
The bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves of the spine all play a role in your ability to perform daily activities pain free. If any of these structures are affected by strain, injury or disease painful symptoms may begin to show themselves.
Of the 33 bony vertebrae 24 of these are movable with discs that separate and cushion them. These intervertebral discs keep your vertebrae from rubbing together and act like shock absorbers for the spine.
The discs themselves are designed like a car tire, there is an outer ring of tough fibrous material called the annulus fibrous that attach themselves to each vertebrae and a soft gel like center called the nucleus pulposus that acts much like a tire tube.
When you have a herniated disc the tough outer shell becomes damaged, either torn or cracked, and the gel like center of the disc bulges out and into the spinal canal. When this happens it can compress the nerves, the spinal cord, or surrounding tissues.
The aim of Laser Discectomy would be to vaporize a small portion of the nucleus pulposus of an intervertebral disc; this would reduce the volume of the damaged disc and the pressure within it.
A Percutaneous Laser Discectomy is performed using a minimally invasive technique that makes use of a small probe that is inserted through an incision that is no larger than 2 inches wide. It must also be performed with the assistance of a television x-ray to make sure that the probe is in the proper location.
Recovery times for this surgery are very small, you can expect to be up and walking hours after surgery and if successful you should have normal function of your back within 4-8 weeks.
As a preventive measure so that this condition has less of a chance of occurring again, it is best to keep your spine in good health and as strong as possible by working on your core muscles which include the muscles of your stomach and lower back.
This form of surgery is not very effective if there is severe degeneration to the discs or if the herniated disc is protruding into the spinal canal. For best results this surgery is best used in the developing stages of the condition when there might only be a slight amount of material pushing out into the spinal canal.
Because the spine naturally degenerates as we age this surgery is most effective in people who are 50 years of age and under.If you have any questions about your herniated disc, this surgery, or you’re other surgical options for repairing a herniated disc the best advice we can give you is that you consult with a medical practitioner sooner than later.