The comparison of the efficacy of radiofrequency nucleoplasty and targeted disc decompression in lumbar radiculopathy

  • Barıs Adakli Guven Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology and ICU
  • Keziban Sanem Cakar Turhan Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology and ICU
  • Ibrahim Asik Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology and ICU
Keywords: lumbar radiculopathy, nucleoplasty, targeted disc decompression, chronic pain, radiofrequency thermocoagulation


Chronic low back pain is a common clinical condition causing medical, socioeconomic, and treatment difficulties. In our study, we aimed to compare early and long-term efficacy of lumbar radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) nucleoplasty and targeted disc decompression (TDD) in patients with lumbar radiculopathy in whom previous conventional therapy had failed. The medical records of 37 patients undergoing TDD and 36 patients undergoing lumbar RFTC nucleoplasty were retrospectively examined and assigned to the Group D and Group N, respectively. In all patients Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Functional Rating Index (FRI) were recorded before treatment and after one, six and twelve months after the procedure. The North American Spine Society Satisfaction Scale (NASSSS) was also recoreded twelve months after the therapeutic procedure. Statistically significant postprocedural improvement in VAS and FRI was evident in both groups. VAS scores after one, six, and twelve month were slightly higher in Group N, compared to Group D. The overall procedure-related patient satisfaction ratio was 67.5% in the Group D, compared to 75% in the Group N. Regardless of the different mechanism of action, both methods are effective therapies for lumbar radiculopathy, with TDD showing long-term lower pain scores.


Download data is not yet available.


Manchikanti L, Staats PS, Singh V, Schultz DM, Vilims BD, Jasper JF, et al. Interventional tecniques: Evidence-based practice guidelines in the management of chronic spinal pain. Pain Physician 2003;6(1):3-81.

Gureje O, Von Korff M, Simon GE, Gater R. Persistent pain and well being: A World Health Organisation study in primary care. JAMA 1998;280(13):147-151. DOI: 10.1001/jama.280.2.147.

Hoffmann DE. Pain management and paliative care in the era of managed care: Issues for health insurers. J Law Med Ethics 1998;26(4):267-289. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.1998.tb01676.x.

Menefee LA, Cohen MJ, Anderson WR, Doghramji K, Frank ED, Lee H. Sleep disturbance and nonmalignant chronic pain: A comprehensive review of the literature. Pain Med 2000;1(2):156-172. DOI: 10.1046/j.1526-4637.2000.00022.x.

Bush K, Cowan N, Katz DE, Gishen P. The natural history of sciatica associated with disc patology: A prospective study with clinical and independent radiologic follow-up. Spine 1992;17(10):1205-1212. DOI: 10.1097/00007632-199210000-00013.

Saal JA, Saal JS. Nonoperative treament of herniated lumbar intervertebral disc with radiculopathy: An outcome study. Spine 1989;14(4):431-437. DOI: 10.1097/00007632-198904000-00018.

Kloth DS, Fenton DS, Andersson GB, Block JE. Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) for the treatment of discogenic low back pain: patient selection and indications for use. Pain Physician 2008;11(5):659-668.

Boswell MV, Trescot AM, Datta S, Schultz DM, Hansen HC, Abdi S et al. Interventional techniques: evidence-based practice guidelines in the management of chronic spinal pain. Pain Physician 2007;10(1):7-111.

Longo UG, Loppini M, Denaro L, Maffulli N, Denaro V. Rating scales for low back pain. Br Med Bull 2010;94:81-144. DOI: 10.1093/bmb/ldp052.

Cooper G, Lutz GE, Boachie-Adjei O, Lin J. Effectiveness of transforaminal epidural steroid injections in patients with degenerative lumbar scoliotic stenosis and radiculopathy. Pain Physician 2004;7:311-317.

Mirzai H, Tekin I, Yaman O, Bursalı A. The results of nucleoplasty in patients with lumbar herniated disc: a prospective clinical study of 52 consecutive patients. Spine J 2007;7(1):88-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.spinee.2006.02.033.

Gerges FJ, Lipsitz SR, Nedeljkovic SS. A systematic review on the effectiveness of the nucleoplasty procedure for discogenic pain. Pain Physician 2010;13(2):117-132.

Schaufele MK. Single level lumbar disc herniations resulting in radicular pain: pain and functional outcomes after treatment with targeted disc decompression. Pain Med 2008;9(7):835-843. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2008.00516.x.

Lee J, Lutz GE, Campbell D, Rodeo SA, Wright T. Stability of the lumbar spine after intradiscal electrothermal therapy. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001;82(1):120-122. DOI: 10.1053/apmr.2001.19021.

Derby R. Intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty: current concepts. Pain Physician 2003;6(3):383-385.

Lemcke J, Al-Zain F, Mutze S, Meier U. Minimally invasive spinal surgery using nucleoplasty and the decompressor tool: a comparison of two methods in a one year follow-up. Minim Invasive Neurosurg 2010;53(5-6):236-242. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1269860.

Singh V, Manchikanti L, Calodney K, Staats PS, Falco FJ, Caraway DL, et al. Percutaneous lumbar laser disc decompression: An update of current evidence. Pain Physician 2013;16(2Suppl):SE229-SE260.

How to Cite
Adakli B, Cakar Turhan KS, Asik I. The comparison of the efficacy of radiofrequency nucleoplasty and targeted disc decompression in lumbar radiculopathy. Bosn J of Basic Med Sci [Internet]. 2015Apr.25 [cited 2020Jan.19];15(2):57-1. Available from:
Translational and Clinical Research