3 The procedure
3.1 Percutaneous coblation of the intervertebral disc is usually done with the patient under sedation and using local anaesthesia. Using fluoroscopic guidance, an introducer needle is inserted into the affected disc. A small radiofrequency probe is then inserted through the needle and into the disc. The probe delivers radiofrequency energy to create a plasma field at its tip, which causes ablation of the tissue at temperatures of 40–70°C. When it has reached a pre‑determined depth the probe is removed, coagulating the tissue as it is withdrawn. Around 6 channels are created during the procedure, the number of channels depending on the amount of tissue reduction needed. The aim is to remove tissue from the disc nucleus without damaging surrounding structures.