New radio wave treatment corrects back disorders

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Offers alternative to drugs, open-spine surgery

Doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are using radio waves –- the same energy that sends signals to your car radio -– to gently dissolve small amounts of unwanted disc tissue and relieve the pressure often associated with lower back and upper leg pain. Virtually bloodless and exceptionally precise, nucleoplasty radio wave injection is more like getting a vaccination or epidural steroid injection than traditional open-spine surgery. For patients whose body motion is restricted by a spine disc attack and who can’t stand the prospect of a sometimes lengthy and painful convalescence, radio wave injection may be just the answer, says Joshua A. Hirsch, an interventional neuroradiologist and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.