Emerald Coast Pain Services


Lumbar Discectomy

Percutaneous Laser discectomies have been around since the 1990's. I was fortunate to have worked with some of the originators in the field. At the time they were considered experimental but today they are covered by most insurance, including Medicare. The procedure involves insertion of a tube between 2 mm and 8 mm in diameter and then a laser is inserted into the tube. the laser creates heat to vaporize the nucleus of the disc. The procedure takes around 5 minutes per disc and in our experience works very well for discs that are bulging or heriated but contained locally. This is an outpatient surgery and recovery is over a week with an incision of about 1/4 of an inch. Of interest, we wrote the original paper on thoracic laser discectomies and the results ranged in the 70 percent good to excellent long term relief range.