Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression

Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression or PLDD is considered a minimally invasive form of treatment for lumbar disc herniation. Since it is minimally invasive thus morbid is lower and recovery period is short compared to the traditional surgery. For this reason PLDD becomes an interesting alternative to traditional surgery. However those who are not convinced with PLDD dismiss it since they claimed to be in its experimental stage thus do not have proof to really claim its efficacy while those who promote PLDD tries to present it as the best alternative treatment for lumbar disc herniation.

Read further on as we try to present a balanced view of the status of PLDD when you talk about treatment for contained lumbar disc herniation.

Beginnings of PLDD

Using of laser in treating lumbar herniated disc started in the early 1980s and the first PLDD in human patient was performed in February 1986. The FDA approved PLDD in 1991 and figures showed that about 35,000 PLDD has been performed around the world ( J Clin Laser Med Surg 1992 )

PLDD treatment is usually done in outpatient basis which makes use of a local anesthesia. It involves using a thin needle that is inserted in the herniated disc assisted with X-ray equipment. Optical fiber is then inserted to the needle and through this fiber is where the laser energy runs through which vaporize a small part of the disc nucleus. This makes a partial vacuum thus drawing the herniation away from the nerve root thus relieving pain. You can immediately feel the effect.

Patients can get off right after the procedure is done and most patients can go back to work after four to five days. Since a thin needle is use you are free from any scar or cutting and since only a small portion of the disc is vaporized it does not result to spinal instability. PLDD is definitely much better than the traditional open back surgery since PLDD does not have the complications that open back surgery has.

Who are qualified for such procedure? Patients who are suffering from disc problems with severe lower back, neck, arm or leg pain; persistent pain that does not respond to six weeks conservative treatment, and herniated lumbar disc identified through MRI, X-rays, Discography, Myelography and CAT scanning.

Indeed many patients today opt for PLDD because of its high success rate and lower risk of complications.