Outcomes of percutaneous disc decompression utilizing nucleoplasty for the treatment of chronic discogenic pain

Alexander Yakovlev, Mazin Al Tamimi, Hong Liang, Maria Eristavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Percutaneous disc decompression utilizing Nucleoplasty has emerged as one of the minimally invasive techniques for treatment of low back pain and lower extremity pain due to contained herniated discs. Only 1 study to date has examined its effect on functional activity and pain medication use; however, results were not analyzed over time, and recall bias was a limitation. Objective: Evaluation of the effect of Nucleoplasty on pain and opioid use in improving functional activity in patients with radicular or axial low back pain secondary to contained herniated discs. Design: Retrospective, non-randomized case series. Methods: Twenty-two patients who had undergone Nucleoplasty were included in the analysis. Patients were evaluated at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively, and were asked to quantify their pain using a visual analog scale ranging from 0 to 10. Patients were also surveyed in regards to their pain medication use, and functional status was quantified by a physical therapist who also used patient reports of ability to perform activities of daily living to assess status. Data were compared between baseline and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. Results: Reported pain and medication use were significantly decreased and functional status was improved at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months following Nucleoplasty (P values ≤ 0.0010 for all outcome measures at all time periods). There were no complications associated with the procedure and we found continued improvements over time. Conclusion: Nucleoplasty appears to be safe and effective. Randomized, controlled studies are required to further evaluate its long-term efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-327
Number of pages9
JournalPain physician
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Disc herniation
  • Discectomy
  • Low back pain
  • Minimally invasive
  • Nucleoplasty
  • Percutaneous disc decompression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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