Spinal Disc disease is a health problem that generally affects the population after the second decade of life, in their full working capacity. It is estimated that 60-70% of the population at any time of life has suffered from low back pain and 20% of patients with a herniated disc may require surgery.
The problems derived from disc degeneration, associated with predisposing factors such as standing, work activity and stress of the modern era, are responsible for the onset of this disease.
In most cases, back discomfort can be remedied by conservative therapies such as injections, electrotherapy, massage or medication. However, if these measures are not enough, doctors have to eliminate the cause permanently by using some form of invasive procedures.
In these circumstances, minimally invasive treatments are the first line approach, and percutaneous laser decompression has been designed specifically for this purpose.
Discs that act like cushions between the bones of the spine can sometimes get damaged and protrude onto nerves, causing back and leg pain, and numbness and weakness in the leg.
In percutaneous intradiscal laser ablation, a needle is inserted through the outer cover of the disc, into its jelly-like centre. A laser is then inserted through the needle to destroy part of the disc, with the aim of shrinking it.
Current evidence on the safety and efficacy of percutaneous intradiscal laser ablation in the lumbar spine is adequate to support the use of this procedure provided that normal arrangements are in place for clinical governance, consent and audit.
Patients selected for the procedure should be limited to those with severe pain refractory to conservative treatment, in whom imaging studies show bulging of an intact disc, and who do not have neurological deficit requiring surgical decompression.