Downtown Pain Physicians Manhattan & Brooklyn Locations (212) 404-8070

Percutaneous Discectomy

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Back pain, especially lower back pain, is a common problem around the globe with millions experiencing some type of back pain each day. If you suffer from chronic back pain and live in the New York area, a visit to Downtown Pain Physicians can help you pinpoint your cause and diagnosis. Our doctors will then work with you to find the appropriate treatment plan, so you no longer have to suffer with back pain.

One very popular and effective form of treatment may be found with a percutaneous discectomy. One of the reasons this procedure is so popular is that it’s minimally invasive, the recovery time is very short, and patients can begin experiencing pain relief immediately. Let’s look a little deeper into what this procedure is, what conditions it can be used to treat, and if it’s right for you.

What Is a Percutaneous Discectomy

Percutaneous discectomy or a percutaneous disc decompression is used to treat a herniated disc. When a patient has what many people call a bulging disc or a slipped disc, and they’re suffering pain from that condition, the percutaneous discectomy is a very effective treatment.

A percutaneous discectomy is often performed through a needle inserted into the offending disc. Then the part of the herniated disc that is irritating the nerves is removed. This provides immediate relief as the nerve is freed to function normally without impingement.

This is a minimally invasive procedure that’s done on an outpatient basis and often takes only about 30 minutes for the surgical procedure itself. Because there is no incision, only a needle hole, recovery and discomfort is often relieved within 48 hours, but easing back into normal activities is recommended for complete recovery with optimal results.

What is a Herniated Disc

A percutaneous discectomy is designed to remove excess or misplaced fluids from the discs between the vertebrae of the spine and alleviate impingement on the nerves. When the disc slips out of place or bulges, this is a condition called a herniated disc. You’ll commonly hear the terms slipped disc and bulging disc, which very succinctly describe what has physically happened in the spine.

The discs in your spine are rubbery cushions that rest between each vertebra, creating space for the nerves within your spinal cord and preventing the bones from rubbing on each other. When your disc herniates, it means that the disc has moved out of place. When this happens, it can cause severe pain and other symptoms. If the disc is not sitting in its home, it is putting pressure on the spine and nerves, causing an impingement or pinched nerves.

Performing a percutaneous discectomy on a disc that has moved out of its original position “deflates” it and restores the surrounding structures to their normal position and function.

Symptoms of a Herniated Disc

A herniated disc is an interesting condition because it can prompt other diagnoses based on the symptoms you’re experiencing. Discs can herniate anywhere in the spine, and they can have a variety of causes, from simple aging to a traumatic event. It just makes sense that with so many regions of possible herniation and different causes, the symptoms are varied. Some of the more common complaints that people with herniated discs report include:

  • A dull ache on one side of the body
  • Back pain when moving in a certain way
  • Pain that increases with sitting
  • Numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation
  • Radiating pain or numbness that moves outward
  • Arm or leg pain
  • Tightness or pain in the buttocks, thigh, or calf
  • Weakness and difficulty walking, holding items, or lifting your arms
  • Problems with balance
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty moving from standing to sitting or vice versa
  • Poor posture
  • Inability to maintain one position for a long period of time
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Any combination of these symptoms

While a thorough history goes a long way toward determining if you have a herniated disc, your doctor will also do a physical examination and may suggest a few diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-rays, nerve conduction studies (NCS), and electromyogram (EMG).

Am I a Good Candidate for a Percutaneous Discectomy

If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated disc, your doctor will discuss the options for treatment and what best suits you, your lifestyle, and your individual diagnosis. At Downtown Pain Physicians, we begin with a conservative approach that includes nonsurgical options. If these treatments do not work, a percutaneous discectomy may be the next best step to take in your quest to find pain relief.

You may be a good candidate for percutaneous discectomy if you have:

  • A herniated disc diagnosis
  • Diagnostic tests that show herniation
  • Significant pain, weakness, numbness and other symptoms
  • Chronic sciatica related to disc herniation
  • Symptoms that do not improve with more conservative measures

If you think that a percutaneous discectomy is the right approach for your herniated disc, consult with one of our doctors and discover what treatment plan is best suited for you.

What Should I Expect with a Percutaneous Discectomy

Even though a percutaneous discectomy doesn’t involve an incision, it is considered a surgical procedure and there are some considerations for you and your physician to discuss to properly prepare you for this procedure. Each patient will have customized instructions and a slightly different experience, but you can expect the following in most situations:

  • Pre-surgical tests to evaluation spine and overall health
  • Adjustments in some medications and possibly diet prior to the procedure
  • Arrive prior to surgery to complete paperwork, do pre-procedure work-ups and to talk to your surgical team
  • For the surgery you will have a local anesthetic to numb the area
  • A needle is placed into the targeted disc using x-ray guidance
  • A pump or heat waves may be used to remove excess disc material (this may prompt a feeling of pressure but not pain)
  • The surgical procedure itself lasts typically 30 minutes
  • You can return home the same day with some restrictions and guidelines
  • You may have sensitivity to the area for a couple days and your doctor may prescribe pain medication
  • Resting for 24-48 hours is typically recommended to help you ease back into normal movement and activities
  • Recovery time varies but many patients report returning to previous (or better) levels of function within a week

Meet Your Doctors

Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

Top-Rated Interventional Pain and Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Dr. Raj Raval is an Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist. As part of the best rated team of pain management doctors in New York City, he uses the most effective pain management and pain control treatment options using the latest technologies available.

Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

  • Board certified
  • Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Member of: AAPMR, Spine Intervention Society (SIS), North American Spine Society, American Society of Interventional Pain

Dr. Daniel P. Spunberg, M.D.

High-Ranking Specialist in Interventional Pain and Musculoskeletal Medicine
Dr. Daniel Spunberg is a triple board-certified physician in the specialties of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, and Sports Medicine. Using the latest technology and modern state-of-the art care, he is a well-respected part of our team of pain management doctors in New York City. Working closely with his patients, he prides himself on developing rapport to help individuals find the pain solutions they seek.

Dr. Daniel P. Spunberg, M.D.

  • Board certified
  • Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Member of: AAPMR, AMA, Spine Intervention Society (SIS), North American Spine Society, NY State Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Our Facilities Are State of the Art

Not only do we have the best doctors around, but we also believe we have one of the best facilities. Where you receive your care and the tools the doctor has at their disposal can mean a lot when it comes to a successful treatment plan. We’re quite proud of our well-appointed and modern facility, it makes the experience more comfortable for our patients and supplies our doctors with the equipment they need.

Our pain facilities are in Brooklyn and Manhattan and conveniently located for residents in Downtown Brooklyn, Lower, Midtown and upper East Side of Manhattan, the East Village, Greenwich Village, or Murphy Hill.

Our quality of care is considered among the finest in the country and with the technology and expertise to back it up, our patients find the relief they are seeking. Connect with one of our offices today to take the first step toward relieving neuropathic symptoms.

What Our Patients Have to Say

We know we have the best doctors and facility around, and our patients agree.


  • ★★★★★


    Great experience, took care of my needs straight away! Great bedside manner and Dr. Raval was very personable and precise

  • ★★★★★


    Excellent doctor. Nice staff. Felt very thorough, patient, and good bedside manner. Highly recommend.

  • ★★★★★


    Dr. Erenburg is a great caring and attentive doctor. I’m very glad I came to see him. He was very patient and knowledgeable. He spend a lot of time with me and answered all of my questions. He really cares. I’m hopeful that he’ll be able to help me with my Myofacsial dysfunction.

  • ★★★★★


    I wish I could give Dr. Raval 10 stars. He has been absolutely PHENOMENAL helping me with a herniated disc. He calmed my anxiety, he follows through immediately and has been fantastic through it all. His entire staff is the same.

What to Expect at Downtown Pain Physicians NYC

At your first visit to either of our offices, you can expect a thorough health examination and history so your doctor can get a good idea of your health concerns. There may be x-rays or an ultrasound evaluation necessary at your appointment to gain deeper understanding of your symptoms.

After a diagnosis is discovered, your doctor will have a thorough discussion of treatment options with you to make sure you know what steps are possible and you can make an informed decision. You’ll also receive a detailed recovery plan, so you never have to question what to do next.

We want your visit to our offices to be as pleasant as possible from the moment you walk through our doors. Individual attention is part of the fabric of our practice and it’s a critical component of an effective treatment plan. Whether you’re suffering with pain from a herniated disc or any other type of pain, we’re here to help you find pain relief and get back to living your life.

Page Updated on Nov 8, 2023 by Dr. Raj Raval, MD (Pain Management Doctor) of Downtown Pain Physicians Of Brooklyn
  • Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

    1. Board Certified
    2. Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Education & training

    1. SUNY Health Science Center
    2. Rutgers University Fellowship
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  • Dr. Raphael Jaramillo, MD

    1. Board Certified
    2. Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Education & training

    1. Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine
    2. New York University
    3. Rutgers University
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