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Percutaneous cervical discectomy: retrospective comparison of two different techniques



To compare clinical success and patient satisfaction of percutaneous cervical nucleoplasty (PCN) and percutaneous cervical discectomy (PCD) in contained cervical disc herniation treatment.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively identified 50 consecutive patients in our institution: 24 underwent the PCD treatment and 26 patients were treated by the PCN procedure. All patients complained of radicular pain with or without neck pain; diagnosis of contained cervical disc herniation was obtained by MRI; all patients had received conservative therapy which did not result in symptom improvement. Exclusion from our series consisted of patients who had undergone previous surgery at the indicated level, or those with myelopathy, or those in whom more than a sole herniation was treated in the same session. Overall procedure time, fluoroscopy time, radiation dose and complications were recorded. The MacNab scale score was used to assess clinical success in terms of pain relief at 2- and 6-month follow-up. After 4–6 months, a cervical MRI was obtained in 24 patients.


Neither major nor minor complications were reported. Regarding patient satisfaction, overall median modified MacNab score was excellent both at 2 and 6 months after treatment. No significant statistical difference was found in mean modified MacNab score at 2 and 6 months among patients grouped by treatment choice (p = 0.319 and 0.847, respectively); radiation dose was inferior in PCN group than in PCD, with no significant statistical difference.


PCD and PCN were found to be safe and effective in terms of pain relief in contained cervical herniation treatment.

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The authors received no specific funding for this work.

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Correspondence to Anna Maria Ierardi.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The present study is a retrospective study: for this type of study formal consent is not required.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Ierardi, A.M., Carnevale, A., Cossu, A. et al. Percutaneous cervical discectomy: retrospective comparison of two different techniques. Radiol med (2020).

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  • Cervical disk herniation
  • Nucleoplasty
  • Discectomy
  • Percutaneous