Lumbar Herniated Disc

Operation Duration
1-4 Hours
Hospital Stay
1-3 Days
Total Stay
4-5 Days
Approximate Recovery
6 - 12 Weeks

Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure used to treat herniated discs. The treatment starts by anesthetizing the area around the herniated disc with a local anesthetic. Using a device called a probe, guided by X-ray, radiofrequency waves are applied to the nerves responsible for transmitting chronic pain, rendering them insensitive. The entire procedure typically takes 20 to 30 minutes.

Procedure Benefits:
  • Immediate Pain Relief: Patients can return to a largely pain-free life immediately after the procedure.
  • Minimal Downtime: You can take a bath the same day and resume your daily activities.
  • Non-Surgical: Ideal for those who prefer to avoid surgery.
  • Rapid Recovery: Allows a quicker return to work and normal activities.
  • Reduced Medication Use: Decreases the need for muscle relaxants and painkillers.

Radiofrequency Ablation Overview:

Radiofrequency ablation, also known as rhizotomy, uses heat to disrupt pain signals. By "burning" the nerve causing the pain, the transmission of pain signals to the brain is effectively eliminated. This treatment is particularly recommended for early-stage, non-surgical lumbar hernias. The patient remains comfortable during the procedure as the targeted area is numbed.

Indications for Treatment:
  • Recommended for patients with lumbar or cervical hernias at an initial stage.
  • Appropriate patient groups are identified through MRI and physical examinations.

Procedure Details:
  • The area around the herniated disc is anesthetized.
  • A probe delivers radiofrequency waves to desensitize the pain-transmitting nerves.
  • The process is completed within 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Non-Surgical: Suitable for patients with a fear of surgery.
  • Immediate Pain Relief: Pain subsides immediately after the nerves are blocked.
  • Quick Recovery: Fast return to daily life and work.
  • Reduced Dependence on Painkillers: Less need for medications used for lumbar hernia pain.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I be treated with radiofrequency for long-term low back pain?
  • Yes, after determining the cause of your low back pain, your doctor can decide if radiofrequency treatment is suitable. Other treatments like ozone therapy, microsurgery, or traditional surgery may be considered based on the diagnosis.

When will my pain go away after the treatment?
  • Pain relief is immediate as the pain nerves are blocked during the procedure.

Can lumbar hernia recur after radiofrequency treatment?
  • While the treated nerves remain inactive, new hernias could potentially develop in the treated area or nearby.

Are there other non-surgical methods for pain treatment besides radiofrequency?
  • Epiduroscopy is another non-surgical option, although it targets a different patient group than radiofrequency treatment.

Understanding Herniated Disc

What is a Herniated Disc?
  • The spine has five lumbar vertebrae, separated by discs that act as cushions. These discs have a tough outer layer and a soft inner core. A herniated disc occurs when the outer layer tears, and the inner core protrudes, pressing on nearby nerves.

Stages of Lumbar Hernia:
  1. Stage One: Brown Disc (Degenerate Disc)
    • The disc structure deteriorates, with tiny tears forming in the outer layer. The inner core dries and loses its ability to absorb impact, appearing darker on MRI.
  2. Stage Two: Bulging
    • The damaged outer layer continues to tear, causing the inner core to bulge. Symptoms may be minimal or limited to low back pain.
  3. Stage Three: Protrusion
    • Increased tearing weakens the outer layer further, leading to significant bulging. This can cause severe low back pain, leg pain, numbness, and weakness.
  4. Stage Four: Extrusion
    • The inner core breaks through the outer layer, compressing surrounding nerves and causing severe symptoms.
  5. Stage Five: Sequestration
    • A fragment of the disc breaks off and remains within the spinal canal. Symptoms and treatment are similar to Stage Four.

Treatment Planning:
  • Herniated disc treatment varies based on individual patient factors such as the severity and duration of symptoms, examination findings, and lifestyle. A personalized approach ensures the best outcomes.


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