What Is Nucleoplasty?

Nucleoplasty is a minimally invasive, image-guided therapy used to treat back pain and leg pain caused by herniated discs. During nucleoplasty, one of our interventional radiologists uses image guidance to remove a small amount of disc tissue to relieve pressure on the nerves to help reduce pain and restore mobility. Nucleoplasty typically takes one hour.

Candidates for nucleoplasty include people who have chronic back pain lasting at least six weeks and debilitation due to disc herniation after traditional treatments have failed. People with osteoporosis may also benefit from nucleoplasty.

How to Prepare for Nucleoplasty

  • Consultation - Anyone undergoing nucleoplasty must be evaluated by our staff prior to the surgery. Sometimes a phone call works as your consultation but typically you will be seen in person. Our team will evaluate your medical history, give you a physical exam and run blood tests. You might need to have an imaging exam such as a CT or an MRI before coming in for nucleoplasty.
  • Images - Please bring any imaging studies not performed at Mass General Imaging to your consultation appointment, including plain radiographs and MRI images
  • Sedation - When you come in for nucleoplasty, we will give you a sedative to help you relax and local anesthesia.

What Happens After Nucleoplasty?

After nucleoplasty, you may experience some pain or weakness caused by a disc herniation pushing on a spinal nerve. We will keep you in the hospital for several hours of observation. We will discharge you with instructions to gradually re-establish your normal acitivities over the next few days.