Posted on December 21, 2022
The spine is composed of a series of bones called the vertebrae. Each of these bones is connected by a disc made up of a tough outer layer – an annulus. In the center is a gel-like substance known as the nucleus.
If the annulus of the disc is damaged by injury or weakened by age, a portion of the outer layer can give way to pressure. This can cause the gel-like nucleus to either bulge or leak out. This is what may be referred to as a protruding or herniated disc.
A herniated disc can press on the nerves and cause pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the back and/or leg. Up to 50% of low back pain can be due to damaged discs with tears or protrusions.
In the past, these have often been treated with conservative measures including rest, medications, injections and/or physical therapy. Unfortunately, this approach does not always provide relief.
Patients who did not respond were often left to endure the symptoms or consider major spine surgery. Surgery can take weeks or months for recovery, typically resulting in a major disruption for patients and their families.
Disc-FX® provides an option for those who have failed conservative care, and are not yet ready for major surgery. It is a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure. The patented Disc-FX® relieves pressure in the disc without the need for open surgery.
The Disc-FX® System is designed to efficiently access the damaged disc without injury to surrounding disc anatomy. Disc-FX decompresses the disc and seals tears in the annulus. Benefits of the procedure may include:
To determine if you are a candidate, a medical evaluation will include a physical exam and diagnostic tests (such as MRI or discography). Disc-FX may not be beneficial for discs that are severely degenerated and have lost too much height.
Dr. Jonathan Daitch, a board certified pain management physician, will evaluate and determine if you are a candidate.
The Disc-FX system is performed in 30-45 minutes and requires only minimal anesthesia. Through a small incision, a narrow introducer/working channel is advanced into the disc herniation. Through this, the physician removes and decompresses the offending herniation.
Finally, if needed, any tear in the back of the disc is heated to seal the tear.
Provided there is ample disc height to work with, this can be a highly effective way of eliminating leg pain or sciatica. The leg pain usually resolves within several days.
You will need to wear a back brace for the first four weeks to prevent re-herniation of disc material through the small opening that was made in the disc.
Expect a fair amount of pain for the first 2-3 weeks, as it is a surgical procedure. You’ll be given ample pain medication to assist you. You should avoid bending, lifting or twisting for the first 2-3 weeks, lifting no more than that required for a gallon of milk (about 8 lbs). You should not drive for the first week but will be able to sit and ride in a car.
After one week, you can resume sedentary tasks for the next five weeks. We will then add physical therapy and increase your work ability. The back pain will continue to decrease over the next 4-6 weeks.
When conservative care fails to provide sufficient relief from disc herniation, DiscFX offers an option to help many patients avoid or delay open surgery while resuming a higher level of comfort and mobility.