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Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there was enough evidence to know how well this procedure works and how safe it is. The 8 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 2,925 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits:

  • pain relief in some patients, lasting up to 24 months after the procedure

  • improved ability to carry out everyday tasks, in some patients

  • most patients were able to return to work from 5 to 33 days after the procedure.

Symptoms came back in a few people, needing further treatment.

The studies showed that the risks of the procedure included:

  • damage to the vertebrae, to the tissue that covers the spinal cord, or to nerves. In a few people this caused leg weakness and 1 person developed a condition known as foot drop, affecting walking, that did not get better over time

  • problems after the procedure including burning sensation or numbness in the legs. These got better over time for most people, but some people needed more surgery

  • cavities filled with fluid forming around the site of the procedure that needed surgery to correct.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard