Disc Decompression, Biacuplasty & Annuloplasty

What is Disc Decompression?

Disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty are minimally invasive treatment options involving the use of specialised needles that require only a small puncture through the skin. By removing disc material, the disc can be shrunk, thereby reducing compression on the nerve. In cases where the disc is also a source of pain, Radiofrequency Ablation is utilised during biacuplasty or annuloplasty to destroy nerve signals responsible for pain through the outer layer of the disc.

Conditions Suitable for Disc Decompression, Biacuplasty & Annuloplasty

Disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty are suitable treatment options for the following conditions:

Herniated Disc (Slipped Disc)

Individuals with herniated discs, where the disc material protrudes and compresses the nearby nerve, can benefit from these procedures. By precisely removing the problematic disc material, the disc can be relieved from the pressure on the nerve, leading to pain reduction and improved functionality.


Sciatica is characterised by shooting pain or numbness that radiates along the sciatic nerve, often extending from the lower back to the legs. Disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty target the underlying causes of sciatica, aiming to alleviate the compression on the sciatic nerve and provide much-needed relief from pain and associated symptoms.

Discogenic Pain

Discogenic pain refers to chronic neck pain or low back pain that originates directly from the intervertebral discs themselves. Disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty procedures focus on addressing the source of the pain by reducing disc compression and providing targeted relief, helping individuals regain their quality of life and engage in daily activities more comfortably.

Benefits of Disc Decompression, Biacuplasty & Annuloplasty

As a procedure, disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty offer significant advantages, they include:

  • Minimally invasive approach with smaller incisions, leading to faster recovery times.
  • Effective pain relief by reducing nerve compression and destroying pain-signalling nerves.
  • Faster recovery, less postoperative pain, and shorter hospital stays.
  • Lower risk of complications and reduced chances of postoperative scarring.
  • Improved functionality, mobility, and range of motion.
  • Decreased dependency on long-term medication use.

What Happens During a Disc Decompression (Annuloplasty) Treatment?

Disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty involves the following steps:

  • Diagnosis and Evaluation: A comprehensive assessment to determine the suitability of the procedure based on your condition and medical history.
  • Anaesthesia: Local anaesthesia or sedation is administered to ensure comfort.
  • Disc Material Removal: Specialised needles are used to remove problematic disc material, reducing pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation: If the disc is a source of pain, radiofrequency ablation is performed to destroy pain-signalling nerves.
  • Recovery and Follow-Up: Monitored in a recovery area with specific post-procedure instructions and scheduled follow-up appointments.

The above procedures provide effective pain relief, faster recovery, and improved functionality, making them a valuable treatment option for those suffering from herniated discs, sciatica, and discogenic pain.

Am I a Candidate for Disc Decompression (Annuloplasty)?

To determine if you are a suitable candidate for disc decompression or annuloplasty, several factors are considered:

  • Symptom Severity: You may be experiencing persistent pain, numbness, or tingling despite undergoing conservative treatments like physical therapy and medication.
  • Diagnosis: Diagnostic imaging tests like MRI or CT scans confirm conditions such as a herniated disc, sciatica, or discogenic pain.
  • Non-Responsiveness to Conservative Treatments: Conditions that haven’t responded well to non-surgical treatments like medications,steroid injections, or physical therapy may be better addressed with these minimally invasive procedures.
  • Medical History: A thorough review of your medical history to ensure that you don’t have any contraindications, such as active infections or bleeding tendencies, which could complicate the procedure.
  • Consultation with Specialists: A discussion with your pain medicine physician is essential to determine suitability.

What Should I Expect After My Disc Decompression (Annuloplasty) Procedure?

After undergoing a disc decompression or annuloplasty procedure, here’s what you can typically expect:

  • Mild Discomfort: Some patients may experience mild soreness or discomfort at the puncture site.
  • Activity Restrictions: Limit strenuous physical activities for a specified period, usually a few weeks, as advised by your pain medicine physician.
  • Pain Assessment: Regular pain assessments will help track the efficacy of the procedure, typically starting within a few days post-procedure.
  • Adjustment in Medication: Depending on your pain relief and recovery, medications may be adjusted or even phased out.

After undergoing the procedure, it is also crucial to attend regularly scheduled follow-up appointments. These reviews serve as essential checkpoints for monitoring your recovery progress and making any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. 

Alongside this, you may be referred to a physiotherapist. The goal of this referral is to engage you in a specialised exercise regimen designed to enhance your mobility and strengthen the affected and surrounding areas. Both these steps – consistent follow-up appointments and targeted physical therapy – are integral components of your post-procedure care, aimed at optimising your recovery and long-term well-being.

What are the Side Effects Associated with Disc Decompression (Annuloplasty)?

Although disc decompression and annuloplasty are minimally invasive and generally safe, some side effects could occur:

  • Infection: There is a minimal risk of infection at the puncture site.
  • Bleeding: Rarely, bleeding can occur, leading to a haematoma.
  • Nerve Irritation: In some cases, the treated nerve or surrounding nerves may become irritated, increasing discomfort temporarily.
  • Failure to Relieve Pain: These procedures are generally effective, but they do not guarantee complete pain relief for every individual.
  • Allergic Reactions: Though uncommon, allergic reactions to the anaesthesia or other medications used during the procedure are possible.
  • Temporary Numbness: Some patients experience a period of numbness in the treated area due to the local anaesthesia used.

Consult your pain medicine physician for a comprehensive understanding of your individual risks and to determine if disc decompression or annuloplasty is suitable for you.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Don’t let the pain and discomfort of herniated discs hold you back from living a fulfilling life. Schedule a consultation with our experienced specialists at The Pain Clinic to explore how our disc decompression, biacuplasty and annuloplasty treatments can provide the relief you deserve. We are dedicated to helping you regain your mobility, alleviate your pain, and restore your overall quality of life. Contact us now to take the first step towards a pain-free future.

Our clinic is under the following insurance panels

We work with various insurance partners to assist with your hospitalisation and surgery claims. In some instances, pre-approval from your insurer allows direct billing between the hospital and insurer so that you will have peace of mind during your treatment. We are accredited by Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), so you may also utilise Medisave for your hospitalisation expenses.

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Meet Our Doctor

Dr Ho Kok Yuen is a specialist in pain medicine and anaesthesia. He completed his pain management fellowship at Duke University Hospital in USA in 2006. He is involved in teaching, research and also serves on numerous advisory boards. Besides writing articles in peer-reviewed journals, clinical practice and consensus guidelines, as well as book chapters on pain and anaesthesia, he lectures at international conferences and teaches at interventional pain workshops frequently.

Dr Ho Kok Yuen obtained his MBBS and Master of Medicine (Anaesthesiology) from the National University of Singapore. He holds a Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine (GDSM) from the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMed) at Nanyang Technological University.

  • Diplomate, American Academy of Pain Management (DAAPM)
  • European Diploma in Pain Medicine (EDPM), European Society of Regional Anaesthesia (ESRA)
  • European Diploma in Pain Medicine (EDPM), European Pain Federation EFIC
  • Graduate Diploma in Sports Medicine, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMed)
  • Chairman, Chapter of Pain Medicine Physicians, Academy of Medicine, Singapore
  • Council Member, College of Anaesthesiologists, Academy of Medicine, Singapore
  • Chairman, South-East Asian Section, World Institute of Pain (WIP)
  • Fellow, Interventional Pain Practice (FIPP) with the WIP
  • Examiner, FIPP Examinations
  • Fellow, Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS)
  • Past President, The Pain Association of Singapore (2011-2017)
  • Past Vice-President, Association for South-East Asian Pain Societies (ASEAPS) (2012-2013)

Dr Ho Kok Yuen is widely recognised as an expert in minimally invasive interventional pain management, having performed thousands of such surgeries. He treats persistent and severe pain using therapies such as steroid injections, nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, intrathecal drug delivery and spinal cord stimulation.

The first physician in Asia to perform cooled radiofrequency ablation, he has been treating spine, sacroiliac joint, hip, and knee pain using this technique since 2006. He also administers spinal infusions to ensure pain-free end-of-life comfort care for patients with advanced terminal cancer pain.

When Boston Scientific launched its most advanced SCS system – the WaveWriter Alpha™ – in Southeast Asia, Dr Ho Kok Yuen was the first doctor to perform the implant surgery. SCS uses electrical impulses to block pain signals in the spinal cord, effectively treating intractable back pain, leg pain and neuropathic pain. SCS therapy has helped hundreds and thousands of people around the world improve their quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Disc Annuloplasty

Disc decompression is a therapeutic treatment that is utilised to alleviate pressure on the spinal disc or nerve. This pressure may result from conditions such as a herniated disc, bulging disc, or degenerative disc disease. The decompression process is non-invasive and employs a negative pressure within the disc to draw back or realign the disc material causing discomfort. A device that precisely reduces the size of the disc is used in the procedure, reducing pain and fostering optimal conditions for healing.

Disc decompression treatment is usually not associated with pain. Many patients experience a mild stretching sensation or minor pressure during the procedure, but not discomfort or pain. As it’s a minimally invasive procedure, there are no incisions involved, and it’s commonly performed as an outpatient procedure. The primary objective of the treatment is to alleviate pain, not to inflict it. However, experiences can vary among individuals, and any discomfort should be reported to the medical team.

The time frame to observe improvement following disc annuloplasty varies widely among patients. Some individuals might start experiencing relief from symptoms within a few days or weeks post-procedure. However, for others, it may take a few months of slow and steady recovery to attain the full benefit of the procedure. The recovery time can be influenced by factors such as the severity of the disc issue, the overall health condition of the patient, and the degree of adherence to the post-procedure care plan. This care plan often encompasses physical therapy and lifestyle modifications. It’s crucial to have a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider to set realistic expectations for recovery post-disc annuloplasty.


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