Percutaneous laser disc decompression. A new therapeutic modality

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1992 Aug;17(8):949-56. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199208000-00014.


The authors present a new advance in the treatment of herniated disc disease using percutaneous Nd:YAG laser to vaporize a small portion of nucleus pulposus, thereby decompressing the disc. In vitro and in vivo animal data are presented. Three hundred seventy-seven magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan-documented, herniated, nonsequestered lumbar intervertebral discs with corresponding clinical findings in 333 patients were so treated in an outpatient setting. The longest follow-up was 62 months, with a mean of 26 months. According to the Macnab criteria, there was a good to fair response in 261 patients (78.4%), and a poor response in 72 (21.6%); 166 patients experienced relief of pain during the procedure. One-third of repeat magnetic resonance imaging scans at 4-6 months postlaser treatment showed modest to moderate decrease of disc herniation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Back Pain / surgery
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / complications
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery*
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Radiography