Background: Cervical disc nucleoplasty is a significant and clinically demonstrated innovation in percutaneous disc decompression in case of non-herniated disc protrusions or prolpase. It allows a percutaneous decompression via a 19-gauge needle under utilization of the Coblation technique and under C-arm control. Until now the patients suffering of a cervicobrachialgia in cause of a disc prolapse had only the therapeutical solution between conservative treatment and monosegmental spondylodesis or disc prosthesis of the mentioned motion segment.
Methods: We wanted to demonstrate a new and practicable anatomical pathway for reaching the cervical disc prolapse comparable to the technique for discography of the cervical spine. The introducer needle is advanced into the disc under fluoroscopic guidance using a standard anterior-lateral approach. The controller delivers radiofrequency energy to quickly ablate tissue at temperatures between 50 degrees and 60 degrees C. The decompression will be done in ablation mode by rotating the device through 180 degrees for 5 s in the posterior, medial and ventral third of the cervical disc. After failed conservative treatment over an average time period of 3 months we treated 26 patients with a contained herniated prolapse or protrusion with radicular arm pain by percutaneous decompression under utilization of the Coblation technique with a controlled energy plasma-mediated field. A randomized control group of 30 patients was treated alone conservatively with medical and physical therapy in the same period.
Results: The average preoperative VAS was 8.8. With a follow-up time of 2-years we found an average pain reduction with the visual pain score (VAS) of 2.3 who had a further check-up. The VAS was checked 24 h, 1 week, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months postoperatively. No complications with this method were seen. Comparable to the surgically treated group the conservative patients have had a VAS of 8.4. Under using conservative treatment with physical therapy, physiotherapy, analgetics and perineural injections we have had a diminution of the VAS to 5.1 after 2 years.
Conclusion: The percutaneous decompression of the cervical disc protrusion with the Perc DC-Spine Wand by using the Coblation mode is a quick and safe procedure. Furthermore, one may state a persistent pain relief in the follow-up time up to 2 years after the percutaneous decompression of the disc.