Endoscopic and Laser Assisted Decompression
An endoscope is a very thin fiber-optic video camera, which can be used to see internal portions of the body. The camera sends the images to a monitor similar to a television. The endoscope is made with built-in magnification and a light source. Surgery is performed by passing instruments through the endoscope to remove disc material or bone spurs. The major advantage of the endoscope is that it allows for the procedure to be done through a very small incision with minimal tissue damage, while allowing direct visualization of the desired anatomy via the camera. A laser is a device that produces a form of light energy. Surgical lasers are typically used to remove (ablate) unwanted or abnormal tissue. As the affected tissues absorb the laser, light is converted to heat. As the tissue is heated, it vaporizes, a process known as ablation. Percutaneous disc decompression involves placing a long needle into the disc and passing some type of instrument through the needle to remove small channels of disc material from within the disc. The instrument may be a mechanical device, laser or other tool. The theory behind this treatment is that by removing disc material from within the disc, pressure on the outer wall is relieved, reducing the radicular or sciatic symptoms caused by the disc bulge.