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Disc decompression

Disc Decompression


  • Significant pain relief12
  • Reduced used of pain medication12
  • Return to previous levels of activity12
  • Quantifiable disc material removal2
  • Less scarring
  • Quick recovery: generally 3-5 days
  • Low complication and morbidity rates34
  • Outpatient procedure requiring only local anesthetic alleviates possible complications of open surgery and general anesthesia

Disc decompression is a highly effective procedure shown to be successful for 90 percent of patients.2

Multiple clinical studies have shown that disc decompression has a high success rate,12and low complication rate25.

Disc decompression is typically performed on an outpatient basis and requires only local anesthetic and mild sedation, alleviating the possible complications of open surgery and general anesthesia. This invasive procedure completes the continuum of care for patients who want a minimally invasive alternative to surgery.


Results compared to surgery:

  • Decreased complication rate: 0.5% vs. 3% with open surgical discectomy25
  • Lower re-herniation rate: 5% vs. 10-15% compared to open lumbar discectomy6

Procedure animations and testimonials

Disc decompression
Disc decompression

Procedure animation video

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Disc decompression - news clip 1
Disc decompression - news clip 1

Two patients in the Houston area experience relief from the back pain following disc decompression with the Stryker Dekompressor.

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Disc decompression - news clip 2
Disc decompression - news clip 2

As a surgeon, Dr. Smith enjoys helping give patients their lives back.

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Disc decompression - news clip 3
Disc decompression - news clip 3

After disc decompression with the Dekompressor, Yolanda feels like she's a better teacher, a better parent, and has gotten her life back again.

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Julie Shattuck, Disc decompression
Julie Shattuck, Disc decompression

While still on the table during the disc decompression procedure, Julie felt relief from her pain.

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Procedure step by step


a herniated disc


Under x-ray imaging, a needle is guided into the herniated disc, behind the nerve


Disc material causing herniation is removed through the needle


Decompressed disc relieves pain within a week of the procedure

Before the procedure

A doctor will confirm that a herniated disc is causing the patient's symptoms by using an imaging study, such as an MRI or CT. These tests help to determine the location of the herniated disc and whether or not disc decompression is the most appropriate treatment. If the patient is a good candidate, the doctor will ask for the following information:

  • Current medications, including herbal supplements, and their dosages

  • Drug, iodine, or latex allergies

  • Current health conditions

A physician or the healthcare staff will also request that the patient:

  • Abstain from aspirin, ASA-containing products (including Alka-Seltzer® or Pepto-Bismol®) and herbal remedies for 5 days before the procedure

  • Abstain from ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) for 3 days before the procedure

  • Abstain from eating or drinking for at least 6 hours before the procedure, except necessary medications with sips of water

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes that are easy to take off and put on

  • Arrange for someone to drive home after the procedure is complete

During the procedure

Disc decompression is performed while the patient is awake but sedated. The patient's back is numbed by a local anesthetic. Using x-ray guidance, a small needle is inserted through the skin and into the herniated disc. When the probe is in the correct position, the herniated disc tissue is removed, thereby reducing the size of the disc herniation.

After the procedure

After the procedure, the patient will be placed in a recovery room for a short period of time where vital signs will be monitored. Typically, patients go home within 1 to 3 hours of treatment. For the first three days following the procedure, apply ice to the treatment area for 1-2 hours each day, and limit driving, bending, twisting, and lifting weight over 10 pounds. Recovery time varies with each person, but many patients are able to resume work and daily activities in one week.