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What is Nucleoplasty Therapy?

In the Nucleoplasty procedure, the physician removes tissue and applies controlled levels of thermal energy (heat) to the disc. This may relieve pressure in the disc, and contract collagen in the thermal zone, further shrinking and stiffening the disc.

Nucleoplasty therapy is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Local anesthesia and mild sedation may be used to reduce discomfort during the procedure. You will be awake to enable you to provide important feedback to the physician. With the guidance of X-RAY images, your physician will first advance a needle into the disc. A specialized device, known as a SpineWand, will then be introduced through the needle and into the disc. Therapy consists of creating a series of channels in your disc, and then thermally treating the tissue immediately adjacent to the SpineWand. The procedure should take less than an hour.

Who May benefit from Nucleoplasty Therapy?

Patients with contained disc herniations may benefit from this therapy. Nucleoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure developed for these patients, combining disc decompression with thermal treatment.

Pre-operative preparation

For proper and thorough treatment, review your current medical history with you physician.

Your physician may ask you to:

Modify your current medication schedule.

Be sure to tell your physician if:

You are taking blood thinners or have a history of bleeding disorder.

You are allergic to any medications.

You have an infection in any part of your body.

Rest well the night before the procedure. It is routine for patients undergoing outpatient surgery to be asked not to eat the night before the procedure. Due to the sedative medications given during the procedure, you will probably be asked to arrange to have someone drive you to and from the medical facility. Your physician should provide you with specific pre-operative instructions.

During the Procedure

It is standard procedure to have an IV needle placed in your arm, and to be given a light sedative. After you are in position on the operating table, you lower back will be numbed with a local anesthetic.

Under X-RAY guidance, your physician will place an access needle into you disc. You may experience mild discomfort during this part of the procedure.

The SpineWand will then be inserted through the needle and into your disc. Tissue will then be removed as the SpineWand is advanced into the disc. This creates a small channel.

The SpineWand will then be slowly withdrawn to its original position while thermally sealing the new channel. Throughout the procedure, you physician will monitor your condition and comfort level closely.

Several channels will be created, depending on the amount of tissue to be removed. At the end of the procedure, the SpineWand and the needle will be removed. A small surgical dressing will be placed over the needle insertion site and you will rest in a recovery area until you are ready to go home.

After the Procedure

The discomfort generated during the Nucleoplasty procedure may take several days to subside, and your physician may prescribe pain medication. During the healing process it is important to treat your back with care. Your physician will provide you with activity and physical rehabilitation guidelines.

Important information about Nucleoplasty Therapy

Nucleoplasty therapy, like any surgical procedure, has some risks. Please consult your physician about the risks and potential complications of Nucleoplasty therapy. If Nucleoplasty is recommended to you, please openly discuss your treatment options and expectations with your physician. Your physician is best informed to ensure your expectations are reasonable given your particular condition.


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