Percutaneous laser disc decompression

In most cases, back problems can be resolved with conservative therapies such as injections, current therapy, massage or medications. If these fail to settle the problem, we need to permanently eliminate the cause.

In the case of badly prolapsed intervertebral discs in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine especially, the relatively new method of percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD) is achieving excellent successes.

This is a gentle, minimally invasive procedure that is able to eliminate problems altogether or at least alleviate them considerably. Often, this method is suitable for patients with spinal changes for which microsurgical intervention is not yet indicated.

Treatment details

Duration of treatment: 30 minutes
In-patient stay: 4–5 days
Protection time: 4 days relative bed rest
After 2–3 weeks wearing of a lumbar spine support (neck brace)
Bending, twisting and lifting are not permitted for 3 weeks
Physiotherapy: after 2–3 weeks
Time off work: 2–6 weeks, depending on job
Car driving: after 2–3 weeks
Sports: after 2–3 months

Treatment plan

Completely in contrast to open surgery, laser therapy does not require any incisions. It is performed percutaneously, i.e. through a small hole in the skin, under local anaesthetics. We use a CT scanner or image converter to help us guide a special needle into the intervertebral disc bulge.

The thin laser fibreglass is advanced into the centre of the bulge. By vaporising the inner parts of the bulge and with the help of laser energy, the volume and pressure of the bulge is reduced and the strain on the neural structures is relieved. An 80% success rate makes the effectiveness of this method clear. The methods of nucleoplasty, radiofrequency, IDET and so on work in a similar way to PLDD.

It is thanks not just to the brevity of the procedure and its "elegance" that disc prolapses are increasingly being treated with laser therapy. There is barely any scarring, muscles and joints remain intact and nerves are not injured. This treatment method is also especially ideal for patients for whom a general anaesthetic would present a degree of risk.

Crucial advantage of this method: the procedure can be carried out on multiple sections of the spine.