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Mark A. Wolgin, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Specialist (Fellowship Trained) in Spinal and Foot/Ankle Surgery, Albany, GA, Office Phone 229-883-4707

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Plasma Disc Decompression
 
 
This procedure takes advantage of the intact rim around the edge of the disc, the annulus (the dough for a jelly donut analogy), and focuses on removing some of the nucleus (jelly) to relieve the pressure on the rim.  This procedure is useful when that rim bulges out pressing on a nerve root
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A bulging disc can put pressure on the exiting nerve root.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The disc can be decompressed by first introducing a needle into the disc through which the decompression device can be placed.  The needle is placed under the exiting nerve root, done with x-ray guidance in the operating room.
 
 
 
 
The business end of the tip that does the decompression uses electrical energy to remove nucleus tissue.  This removal is done with relatively little heating, as the tissue molecules are vaporized, leaving less pressure within the disc.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
After the nucleus material is removed, often the pressure on the nerve root can be relieved.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This procedure is done on an outpatient basis.  Typically, the patients are advised to rest for 2-3 days with limited sitting, bending, lifting, and twisting.  There may be some discomfort where the needle was placed for about a week.  Usually, after a few weeks, patients can participate in a physical therapy program.
 
 
This procedure is not useful for cases with severe disc degeneration or with spinal fractures.