(HealthDay News) — For patients with contained cervical disc herniation, both percutaneous nucleoplasty (PCN) and pulsed radio frequency (PRF) are associated with pain relief, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in Pain Practice.

In a prospective randomized clinical trial, Willy Halim, MD, from Anna Hospital in Geldrop, Netherlands, and colleagues examined the efficacy of PCN versus PRF in patients with contained cervical disc herniation. 34 patients with radicular pain due to a single contained cervical disc herniation were treated with PCN or PRF (17 patients each).

The researchers found that in the PCN group, patients were treated at C5-C6 or C6-C7 (8 and 9 cases, respectively), while in the PRF group, patients were treated at C3-C4, C5-C6, or C6-C7 (one, 10, and 6 cases, respectively). In the PCN and PRF groups there was a significant improvement from baseline in the mean pain visual analogue scale at three months (mean improvement, 43.4 and 34.0 points, respectively). Improvement in the two groups did not differ significantly (P = 0.48). There were no reports of serious complications.

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“Within three months, both PCN and PRF show significant pain improvement in patients with contained cervical disc herniation, but none is superior to the other,” the authors write. “Both treatment options appear to be effective and safe in regular clinical practice.”


  1. Halim W, Van der Weegen W, Wullems JA, Vissers KC. Percutaneous Cervical Nucleoplasty Versus Pulsed Radio Frequency of the Dorsal Root Ganglion in Patients with Contained Cervical Disc Herniation; A Prospective, Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Practice. September 2016. DOI: 10.1111/papr.12517