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Neuroradiology. 1994 Aug;36(6):483-6.

Percutaneous cervical diskectomy: preliminary experience.

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Department of Neuroradiology, Ospedale di Circolo e Fondazione E. e S. Macchi, Varese, Italy.


We assessed the feasibility of percutaneous treatment of a cervical herniated disc. In the lumbar region, the surgical instrument for percutaneous diskectomy passes only through the paravertebral muscles, while in the cervical region there is considerable risk of nervous, parenchymal and vascular lesions. Moreover, open surgery for cervical herniated nucleus pulposus is a well-established, low-risk procedure, with little risk of epidural fibrosis, the main complication of lumbar open surgery; a percutaneous procedure should therefore have a low morbidity rate. A safe percutaneous approach to cervical discs could be useful for biopsy and for treatment of high-risk patients for general anaesthesia. We treated 15 patients with cervical herniated nucleus pulposus; all gave informed consent and refused or were not eligible for open surgery. We used the Nucleotome described for treatment of lumbar herniated discs; except for the first three cases, we used colour Doppler sonography to detect hazardous structures in the path of the probe. We had one complication, a cervical haematoma due to damage to the inferior thyroid artery, prior to the use of ultrasound.

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