, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 1664-1669
Date: 01 Oct 2008

Percutaneous cervical nucleoplasty in the treatment of cervical disc herniation

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Abstract

Percutaneous disc decompression procedures have been performed in the past. Various percutaneous techniques such as percutaneous discectomy, laser discectomy, and nucleoplasty have been successful. Our prospective study was directly to evaluate the results of percutaneous cervical nucleoplasty (PCN) surgery for cervical disc herniation, and illustrate the effectiveness of PCN in symptomatic patients who had cervical herniated discs. From July of 2002 to June of 2005, 126 consecutive patients with contained cervical disc herniations have presented at the authors’ clinic and treated by PCN. The patients’ gender distribution for PCN was 65 male, 61 female. The age of patients ranged from 34 to 66 years (mean 51.9 ± 10.2 years). The levels of involvement were 21 cases at C3–4, 30 cases at C4–5, 40 cases at C5–6, and 35 cases at C6–7. The clinical outcomes, pain reduction and the segment stability were all recorded during this study. A clinical outcome was quantified by the Macnab standard and using VAS. The angular displacement (AD) ≥11° or horizontal displacement (HD) ≥3 mm was considered to be radiographically unstable. In the results of this study, puncture of the needle into the disc space was accurately performed under X-ray guidance in all cases. There was one case where the Perc-D Spine Wand had broken in the disc space during the procedure. The partial Perc-D Spine Wand, which had broken in the disc space could not be removed by the percutaneous cervical discectomy and thus remained there. There were no recurrent cases or complications in our series. Macnab standard results were excellent in 62 cases, good in 41 cases and fair in 23 cases. The rate of excellent and good was 83.73%. The VAS scores demonstrated statistically significant improvement in PCN at the 2-week, 1, 3, 6, and 12-month follow-up visits when compared to preoperational values (P < 0.01). There were no cases of instability following the PCN procedure. There was no significant difference in stability either preoperatively or postoperatively (P > 0.05). Our findings confirm that PCN for the treatment of cervical disc herniation results in a good outcome without any tampering of the stability of the cervical spine. Hence, PCN as a procedure is safe, minimally invasive, less traumatic, requiring less time with an excellent clinical outcome. PCN should be performed for those patients who fail conservative medical management including medication, physical therapy, behavioral management, psychotherapy, and who are unwilling to undergo a more invasive technique such as spinal surgery.