Background Since 1986, laser is used for percutaneous treatment of discal herniation. Due to a thermic effect, it infers an evaporation of the nucleus pulposus and allows a discal decompression that seems to be responsible for the improvement of the patients.
Objectives To estimate the efficacy of the laser nucleolysis on pain, functional incapacity and quality of life of patients suffering of lombosciatica due to dics herniation.
Methods Thirty patients suffering from lombosciatica due to a disc herniation for more than three months were selected on clinical and radiological criteria. All were not relieved although they underwent a well-driven medical treatment. They were treated with percutaneous way with a laser diode 940 nm. All were followed prospectively for six months by an examiner different from the operator. Evaluation criteria consisted of level of lumbar and radicular pain (VAS), level of functional incapacity (Oswestry) and quality of life (SF-36).
Results 30 patients were included in this study. 6 months after the intervention 23 of them (76.6%) were relieved of their radicular pain (EVA < 20%). Lumbar pain and level of functional incapacity decreased whereas the quality of life increased. The patients who failed to improve three months after the procedure (23.4%) were all relieved later after a surgical discectomy.
Conclusion Laser nucleolysis allows a significant decrease at month 6 of pain, functional incapacity and an increase of the quality of life in a group of selected patients suffering from lombosciatica resistant to the medical treatment.
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