What is coblation nucleoplasty?

Coblation nucleoplasty is used to treat serious back pain that radiates into the leg or legs caused by a herniated disk. Intervertebral disks sit between each vertebrae providing cushion and movement of the spine. Occasionally, these can slip past their normal boundaries and create a bulge, or herniation, which causes pain when it presses on the surrounding nerves. Coblation nucleoplasty uses radiofrequency waves to break down the tissue in the herniated disk, making it smaller and decreasing the pressure on the nerves. It does not affect the nerves in or around the disk like other procedures.

Am I a candidate for coblation nucleoplasty?

You are a candidate for coblation nucleoplasty if you have a herniated disk in your back that causes significant pain that radiates into your arms are legs that did not get better with physical therapy, rest, ice, or medications. You are not a candidate if your back pain is caused by compression fractures of your vertebrae. If you have a problem clotting your blood or are allergic to medication such as local anesthetics, you may not be a candidate for this procedure. Additionally, be sure to tell your provider if you take blood thinners such as heparin, warfarin, or enoxaparin.

How long will coblation nucleoplasty take?

Coblation nucleoplasty is a fairly quick procedure. You will be given a mild calming medication. Your back will be cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic.. Your provider may use an ultrasound machine or fluoroscopy, or real-time x-ray, to ensure the needle is inserted into the correct spot. Once the correct location is identified, the needle is inserted into the herniated disk. Radio waves pass through the needle and breakdown the excess tissue in the herniated disk. You will likely experience pain relief as soon as your disk is smaller and no longer pressing on the nerves in your spine. Following a short observation period, you will be released home that day.

How long will it take to recover from coblation nucleoplasty?

You will recover quickly from coblation nucleoplasty. Once the effects of the sedative wear off, you can return to normal activity. However, it’s a good idea to have someone drive you home. You may experience pain for a few days at the injection site; this will subside. Fortunately, you will not need to wear a brace following the nucleoplasty, which is different from traditional surgical treatment of herniated disks. Unfortunately, this procedure may not produce permanent results; it is possible the disk will herniate again after a few years. Side effects associated with coblation nucleoplasty are minimal; this safe procedure can be repeated as necessary.


Coblation nucleoplasty (n.d.) The Oving Clinic. Retreived from http://www.ovingclinic.co.uk/treatments/coblation-nucleoplasty/