Recent studies show that plasma disc decompression (PDD) may be more effective than other, more conservative approaches in treating contained cervical disc herniation.
The spine is made up of small bones known as vertebrae. Vertebrae are separated by small, flat, round discs that act as shock absorbers to the spine. However, when these discs become damaged, they can bulge, slip, or break open, otherwise known as a herniation.
Herniated discs are sometimes the result of injuries. Other times, they are merely a consequence of age.
Individuals with herniated cervical discs, discs located in the neck, may experience tingling, numbness, and/or pain in the arms, hands, shoulders, and/or neck.
Plasma disc decompression is a relatively new procedure, being approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2007. Plasma disc decompression is an alternative to having open surgery for individuals who have cervical disc herniation. The procedure involves x-ray guidance to pinpoint the passageway into the herniated disc. A SpineWand, a surgical instrument, is then placed into the disc. The SpineWand utilizes Coblation technology in order to soften the tissue of the disc with the least possible damage to the healthy discs around it.
Removing nucleus tissue relieves the pressure on the disc and reduces symptoms associated with disc herniation.
In one recent study, patients with contained cervical herniated discs were randomly assigned to receive conservative treatment, such as exercise or spinal injections, or plasma disc decompression for the treatment of their herniated discs. Eighty-five patients took part in this study, conducted in Rome, Italy.
The researchers discovered that patients who had undergone plasma disc decompression had significantly less pain one year after the treatment than those who received a conservative approach. Additionally, patients who underwent PDD had improved functionality and quicker reduction in symptoms related to cervical disc herniation thatn those who underwent conservative treatment.
Alessandro Cesaroni, M.D., vice chief in neurosurgery at Policlinico Casilino Hospital in Rome, Italy and lead author of the study said, “In our study, we determined PDD to be an effective alternative for patients who experience pain and symptoms associated with cervical disc herniation that do not resolve spontaneously over time. PDD patients experienced significantly greater reduction in pain than patients under conservative care at both six and 12 month follow-up visits.”
Another study looked retrospectively at data for more than 1,000 patients who were treated with PDD for their herniated discs. The results showed that 79% of patients who underwent this procedure reported they had significant pain reduction one year after PDD was performed.
Both studies will be presented at the World Federation of Neurological Societies Annual Meeting this November.
PR Newswire: New Studies Find Plasma Disc Decompression Effective for Contained Disc Herniation:
ArthroCare Spine: Procedure Information:
Web MD: Cervical Disc Herniation, Topic Overview: