Percutaneous Laser Disk Decompression (PLDD)
Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians is always looking for ways to deliver the most up-to-date, innovative treatments to our patients. Our practice is dedicated to helping patients achieve relief so they can reclaim their quality of life. A common cause of back pain is sciatica, a painful condition that is usually caused by an intervertebral disk herniation. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back, through your hips and down each leg.
This pain usually affects only one side of the body. Sciatica pain usually resolves in a few weeks, but for some, the pain never goes away and can even lead to leg weakness and bowel or bladder changes. For these severe cases, percutaneous laser disk decompression can alleviate the pain and get you back on track.
Minimally Invasive Treatment for Contained Lumbar Disk Herniation
In the past, treatment for severe sciatica required invasive lumbar disk surgery. This type of surgery carries more risk, and the recovery time can be long and difficult. Some patients who undergo traditional back surgery can expect a recovery time of 8-12 weeks.
Percutaneous laser disk decompression, also referred to as PLDD, is a minimally invasive treatment for contained lumbar disk herniation. Since this procedure is completed percutaneously, or through the skin, the recovery time is much shorter than traditional surgery. Many patients are able to return to work within a few days of the procedure.
How Percutaneous Laser Disk Decompression (PLDD) Works
Laser treatment for lumbar disk herniation has been in practice since the 1980s, so this technique’s track record is very promising. PLDD works by evaporating water in the nucleus pulposus, the inner core of the vertebral disk. This excess fluid presses on the sciatic nerve, causing pain. By removing this fluid, the pressure is lessened on the sciatic nerve, bringing relief.
In this procedure, fluoroscopy is used to identify the herniated disk. A needle is then placed into the intervertebral disk using local anesthesia. The laser fiber is fed through the needle to the affected disk, evaporating the excess fluid. The patient is sent home to recover and is usually back on their feet within just a few short days.
This procedure has been shown to be safe and effective, is performed in an outpatient setting, and results in no scarring or spinal instability. Should future issues arise, the PLDD procedure does not limit the patient’s ability to receive other treatments. It can also be used when other surgical procedures have failed.
Other Conditions Can Be Treated by Percutaneous Laser Disk Decompression (PLDD)
PLDD is not only useful for treating sciatica. Herniated disks, radiculopathy, and spinal stenosis can also be treated with this procedure. It can be used to treat disk herniation in any vertebra except T1-T4. Treating disk herniations can also lead to a reduction in radiculopathy or radiating pain in the back’s lumbar area.
Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spaces in the spine, can cause pressure on the nerves traveling through the spine, which can lead to bulging disks and cause lower back pain. Studies have shown that percutaneous laser disk decompression is a safe and effective alternative to surgery for spinal stenosis.
If you are experiencing lower back pain but want to avoid the long recovery time of traditional surgery, percutaneous laser disk decompression may be the treatment best suited for your condition. Contact Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians today to schedule a PLDD consultation.