There may be awkward occasions where a large amount of disc material has extruded from its enclosure, wrapping itself around the nerves, causing severe inflammation, pain and even nerve damage. Such disc extrusions may be highly resistant to cortisone injections, or because of the nerve damage and severe pain, require immediate relief of pressure on the nerves. Where previously, the only option is an open discectomy/spinal decompression, we can now thread a small camera through a natural opening in the base of the spine directly to disc extrusion within the spinal canal.
Because we are exploiting the body’s natural openings and channels, we do not need to strip off any muscle or bone to access the spinal canal, save a small cut in the skin.
The camera allows us to directly visualise the nerves and disc fragments, and using endoscopic instruments, carefully separate the nerves from the discs. The disc fragments can then be vaporised either by laser or physically extracted.
Again, because it is a percutaneous technique, it can be performed under supervised sedation as a day case. Leading to faster recovery and rehabilitation.