JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Early results of percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD) as a treatment of discopathic lumbar pain.

Background. The purpose of this paper is to present the technique of percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD), give some indications for its use, and provide a preliminary evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of this procedure in the treatment of low back pain, based on the authors' own experience. Material and methods. We performed a prospective analysis of treatment outcome in 212 patients who received PLDD in our clinic between March 2003 and January 2004, and who reported for the planned follow-up examination. Results. In 79.2% of these cases we achieved resolution or significant reduction of pain, and this effect persisted throughout the observation period of 6 weeks post surgery. In 3.8% of our patients, transient improvement was followed by intensification of low back pain, associated with the appearance of the most common complication after PLDD: inflammation of the disk and adjacent fragments of the elastic lamina of the vertebral bodies. Conclusions. In most cases PLDD is not a genuine alternative to open surgery on lumbar discopathy. It is most often administered to patients who have chronic pain from a slight extrusion of the disc, typically not qualified for surgery as the treatment method of choice. All other patients, even with larger herniations, can be administered PLDD as a last attempt at minimally invasive treatment prior to surgery, provided there are no obvious features of disruption of the posterior longitudinal ligament.

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