What is a Percutaneous Discectomy?

A percutaneous discectomy is a procedure that removes part of a herniated disc that is irritating  a nerve, resulting in prompt pain relief. When a disc is herniated, the inside of the disc starts to protrude into the spinal canal and put pressure on the nerves, causing pain in the back, legs, neck or arms.  A percutaneous discectomy (percutaneous procedures are done by needle-puncture of the skin) removes part of a herniated disc that is irritating a nerve, resulting in prompt pain relief. 


Percutaneous discectomy is performed with local anesthesia, avoiding the risks of general anesthesia. The treatment is done in an office-based outpatient setting and usually takes less than an hour. Studies have shown percutaneous discectomy to be successful in reducing pain and medication requirements, while increasing function in up to 90 percent of patients. Recovery is fast and scarring is minimized because no muscles or bone are cut during the procedure. Most patients go home within hours of the procedure and many are able to resume work and normal daily activities within three to five days.