Percutaneous Lumbar Discectomy (PLD)

Percutaneous lumbar discectomy (PLD) is a minimally invasive procedure during which a needle is inserted through the skin and into a bulging or herniated disc in the lumbar region, or lower back. The damaged disc material is then removed.

A probe outfitted with a surgical cutting and suction device or vaporizing laser is inserted through a needle to physically remove some of a bulging or herniated disc’s material. This removal may relieve pressure exerted on the surrounding nerve roots or the spinal cord. A PLD is also known as percutaneous disc decompression because only the partial removal of disc material is needed to decompress the disc. Traditional discectomies call for the removal of the entire disc, which then requires the fusion of the surrounding vertebrae to ensure proper spinal support.

Reasons to consider a PLD

A percutaneous lumbar discectomy may not be an option for everyone. In many cases, most damaged discs will shrink on their own over time, and, with a combination of conservative treatments (exercise, therapy, massage, chiropractic sessions, etc.), symptoms may subside. However, if you have a bulging or herniated disc and are experiencing chronic, disabling nerve pain, with pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in your lower back, legs and feet, the PLD procedure may help.

Austin Midtown Ambulatory Spinal Center does not offer percutaneous surgeries; instead, we offer minimally invasive procedures that are proven safer and more effective§ than traditional open back surgery.

A percutaneous lumbar discectomy can:

  • Effectively relieve pain caused by bulging or herniated discs that are impinging upon the spinal cord or nerve roots.
  • Treat the damaged disc using a small incision with no muscle dissection, no bone removal or fusion and minimal scarring.
  • Be performed on an outpatient basis.
  • Allow you to recover quickly and get back to living life.