Earlier this month, Pain Physician Journal, the official journal of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, published a study illustrating the effectiveness of lumbar disc decompression surgery with nucleoplasty in improving pain caused by a herniated intervertebral disc in the low back. Nucleoplasty describes the minimally-invasive decompression procedure where the surgeon will remove the herniated disc material that is pressing upon the spinal cord, which is causing the pain. The goal of a nucleoplasty procedure (also described as percutaneous discectomy) is to reduce pain and improve mobility.
Reductions in pain, as a result of the lumbar disc decompression surgery, were determined by a range of factors, including: reduction in prescription pain killers (such as Oxycodone or Percocet), reported improved psychological wellness, and when/whether the injured party resumed meaningful employment. These improvement and pain-reduction measurements were combined and then categorized generally, as: good, fair, limited or poor.
The study concluded that, overall, those who received the lumbar nucleoplasty reported fair improvements in their level of pain.
As a North Miami Beach personal-injury attorney, I am often asked by my clients, with herniated discs, whether or not they should get surgery, if recommended by their doctor. There are significant risks with any surgical procedure, including: death, paralysis, severing a nerve, and infection at one extreme. Even if everything goes well, there is still the possibility that their pain will not improve, only improve temporarily, or only improve moderately. I advise my clients to consider these risks and to think about whether or not they can live with the pain they are currently feeling. For some, the risks are not worth it… others would be thankful for even minor relief.