Automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy

Automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy (or APLD) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat symptoms of a bulging disc or a herniated disc in the lower back. A bulging disc occurs when the nucleus of the disc protrudes outward but doesn’t completely rupture the tough outer layer of the disc, as is the case with a herniated disc.

Bulging discs can press against neighboring nerves and cause symptoms of pain, numbness, weakness and tingling in the back or limbs, depending on the location of the affected disc. The aim of any discectomy, including an APLD, is to decompress the nerves by removing displaced disc material and disc fragments.

Laser Spine Institute does not perform this procedure. An alternative procedure we offer is our minimally invasive lumbar discectomy that reduces the risks of complication and infection compared to traditional open back surgery.^ To learn more about the advantages of our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

Comparison to other forms of discectomy

APLD is different from a microdiscectomy or other types of discectomy because it’s performed through a tiny needle in the skin instead of an incision. In some types of APLD, an automated suction-cutting device inserted through the needle is used to extract the disc material.

This procedure is sometimes an effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, but it can’t be used in cases where the lumbar disc has completely herniated. However, like most minimally invasive procedures, it can offer some of the following advantages compared to traditional open back surgery:

  • Less surgical blood loss^
  • Shorter recovery period^
  • Patient satisfaction score of 98^
  • Performed on an outpatient basis
  • Patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100^

Laser Spine Institute’s alternative to automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy

The fact is that symptoms from many bulging and herniated discs can be treated with a conservative treatment plan as recommended by your doctor. Common methods of conservative treatment include periods of rest, low-impact exercise, heating pads and ice packs. Lifestyle changes like using good posture, weight management and protecting your back while lifting is also proven to be effective at managing symptoms.

If you’ve tried several weeks or months of conservative treatments but are still experiencing painful and debilitating bulging disc symptoms, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure like a discectomy. If you are researching surgery and have become concerned about some of the risks and shortcomings involved with other procedures, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help.

We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and have performed more than 100,000 patient procedures since 2005. Our minimally invasive discectomy procedures use smaller, muscle-sparing incisions that allow our board-certified+ surgeons direct access to the spine for the removal of disc material. To learn more about becoming a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures, reach out to our team for a free MRI review* today.