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Percutaneous Disc Decrompression

Percutaneous disc decompression provides therapeutic relief for those with symptomatic disc herniations not responding to conservative measures (physical therapy, non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications, analgesics, and/or epidural steroid injections).

Percutaneous disc decompression is a minimally invasive procedure that involves extracting a portion of the “gel” through a needle to facilitate the herniated disc to subside and shrink. It is an alternative to traditional spine surgery. Because it uses a minimally invasive approach, it reduces the risk of injuring muscles, nerves, and ligaments compared to traditional spine surgeries. In addition, the possibility of surgery still remains a viable option if this procedure fails to provide sustained relief.

How It Works

Percutaneous disc decompressions are performed under live fluoroscopic guidance for the accuracy and safety of this injection.

  • You will be asked to lay on your stomach.
  • Your back will be cleaned with an antiseptic, and a sterile drape will be placed.
  • Your physician will inject a local anesthetic to numb the skin overlying the buttock area.
  • Then, a needle will be guided into your disc. A portion of the gel inside the disc will be extracted through this needle.
  • Finally, the needle will be removed, and a sterile dressing will be applied.


Similar to any other procedure or medication, there are potential risks (although very low) of bleeding, allergic reaction, and prolonged increases in pain. The risk of infection in your disc is lessened by the administration of antibiotics prior to the procedure and the use of sterile techniques throughout the procedure. Your Center for Pain Management physician will use x-ray guidance throughout the procedure to decrease the risk of nerve damage.