Techniques can be broadly divided into techniques that are designed to remove or ablate disc material and thus decompress the disc or those that are designed to alter the biomechanics of the disc annulus. Automated percutaneous mechanical discectomy is performed using local anaesthetic with or without conscious sedation.
Under fluoroscopic guidance, a cannula is placed centrally within the disc using a posterolateral approach on the symptomatic side. A probe connected to an automated cutting and aspiration device is then introduced through the cannula. The disc is aspirated until no more nuclear material can be obtained.