Disc Biacuplasty

What are the discs?
The discs are soft, cushion-like pads, which separate the hard vertebral bones of your spine. A disc may be painful when it bulges, herniates, tears or degenerates and may cause pain in your neck, mid-back, low back and/or arms, chest wall, abdomen and legs.

What is disc biacuplasty and how can this procedure be helpful?
Chronic low back pain originating from the disc can be disabling.  “Discogenic” pain can be challenging to diagnose and, once the source of this pain is located, it is difficult to treat effectively. For many patients, standard treatments such as rest, physical therapy, chiropractic care, exercise, medication, and injections offer only short-term relief. For longer-term relief a patient may consider highly invasive surgeries however these carry significant associated risks of complications and may not necessarily be effective in alleviating the patient's pain.

Disc biacuplasty using Radiofrequency (RF) energy is a minimally-invasive procedure that offers long-term relief to select patients with degenerated, fissured or mildly herniated spinal discs. Disc biacuplasty literally means "two-needle treatment of the disc".  The procedure utilizes radiofrequency technology to safely and reliably deactivate the nerves that are responsible for disc—related back pain. 

What happens during the procedure?
The procedure takes about 30 minutes, is performed in an outpatient setting, and does not require general anesthesia. An IV will be started so that antibiotics (to prevent infection) can be given as well as mild sedation for comfort. After lying on an x-ray table, the skin over your low back is cleansed. Next, the physician will numb a small area of skin, which may sting for a few seconds. The physician will use x-ray guidance to direct two probes into the disc through introducer needles.  The disc is treated with gentle warming by radiofrequency waves.   This energy "de-activates" the sensory nerve fibers in the disc that sends pain signals to the brain. After 15 minutes, the probes and needles are removed and a bandage is placed over the treatment site. 

What should I do and expect after the procedure?
On the day of the injection, you should not drive and should limit your activities. Over the next 2-3 days, your muscles may be sore and your usual pain aggravated. Ice will usually be more helpful than heat during this period. You can take your regular pain medicine as prescribed. You may also be given, if desired, a prescription for stronger pain medication. You will be required to wear a brace for 30 days after the procedure. You should avoid sitting and driving for long periods over the first 2-3 weeks following the procedure. At that point, and as your pain begins to improve, begin gentle exercise in moderation. 

If your work is sedentary, you may return to work in roughly two weeks.  For physically demanding jobs your physician will decide when it is okay to return to work.