What the PLDD Method Is

Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression

The PLDD method is a treatment that lowers increased pressure in the intervertebral discs that is the cause of herniated discs. PLDD is a treatment with a long history that began in the 1980s, and in Japan, many patients have undergone this treatment. Still, because it targets only herniated discs, there is a chance that it will not be an appropriate treatment if the intervertebral discs are collapsed or worn down.
At our clinic, even if there has been intervertebral disc damage, PODD (ozone) treatment or DST (Discseel™) treatment can be chosen, depending on the degree of the damage.

How the PLDD (Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression) Method Is Done

With the patient under local anesthesia, and while using an X-ray fluoroscope, we place a 1.0 mm (paracentesis) needle into the intervertebral disc. After that, we use a semiconductor laser and irradiate the area in proportion to the state of the damage.

Treatable Conditions

  • Herniated Discs

Candidates Are People with These Kinds of Problems

  • 1

    Those diagnosed with herniated discs

  • 2

    Those suffering from chronic low back pain caused by herniated discs

  • 3

    Those considering herniated disc surgery but who do not want to undergo it

  • 4

    Those who have undergone herniated disc surgery but not improved (or whose condition has recurred)

  • 5

    Those afraid of herniated disc surgery

  • 6

    Those who do not want to be hospitalized for herniated disc surgery

  • 7

    Those hoping for treatment that doesn’t take such a toll on the body

※We can also treat older people (80 years or above).

The Benefits of PLDD Treatment

  • Almost No Scar Will Be Left

    Since only a small needle is inserted without making an incision, almost no scar will be left.

  • Outpatient Treatment That Takes Less of a Toll

    Treatment takes about 15 minutes, and you will need to rest for about 30 minutes afterwards. You can go home in about 60 minutes.

  • No Need for Continued Hospital Visits or Rehabilitation

    Because no continued hospital visits or rehabilitation is necessary after treatment, it’s easy even for those who come from far away to return to their daily lives and work.

How Treatment Is Done and Treatable Conditions

PLDD treatment is a procedure using local anesthesia. From the back, we pierce the herniated part of the affect intervertebral disc with a needle, pass a laser fiber through a channel in the inserted needle, create a hollow in the nucleus pulposus inside the intervertebral disc by using a laser to cauterize it, and shrink the disc. As a result, reduction of pressure on the nerves is achieved, and pain and numbness are improved.

The PLDD method is effective for herniated discs with especially high internal pressure that have not prolapsed from the ligaments and have mild to moderate herniation. In cases of prolapse or separation, PIDD or DST(Discseel™) will be an effective treatment method.

A hollow is made in the nucleus pulposus inside the intervertebral disc by cauterizing it with a laser.

The protruding intervertebral disc is caused to shrink, and pressure on the nerves is reduced.

Treatment Time and Post-Treatment Issues

Treatment time
approx. 15 minutes

You will need to rest for about 30 minutes after treatment, and you will need about 60 minutes until you can go home. Light activity can be done the following day, but you will need to postpone sports or heavy labor for around 7 days.

About Post-Treatment Issues
The recurrence rate is said to be equally as high as with conventional surgery. That is because intervertebral disc damage cannot be improved as in DST (Discseel™ treatment).

Side effects of the PLDD method

After being treated with the PLDD method, you may experience some unprecedented back pain, numbness, or muscle tension in your thighs.
These symptoms are temporary and may subsist from one week to one month after surgery, depending on the symptoms and condition of the patient.
Although the probability is much lower than with surgical procedures, there is a risk of infection or complications in the treated area.
At our clinic, the doctor will explain the treatment in detail in order to reduce these risks as much as possible.
Please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have before treatment.

Treatment Flow

  • InquiryInquiry


    We are an appointment-only clinic, so before you decide to visit us please call us to make an appointment. For further information or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Remote Image Diagnostic ServiceRemote Image Diagnostic Service

    Remote Image Diagnostic Service

    To ensure in that you are a good candidate for treatment at the clinic prior to your visit to Japan, you can forward us a recent MRI for our doctor to review and determine for free. If you are located nearby and you wish to undergo the MRI and X-ray scan at our clinic, you can call us to make an appointment.

  • Choose Operation DateChoose Operation Date

    Choose Operation Date

    If your diagnose confirms that your condition makes you a good candidate for treatment, you can proceed with scheduling the operation date.

  • Travel PreparationsTravel Preparations

    Travel Preparations

    Hospitalization is not required, so you will be discharged on the same day of the treatment. Obtaining a Japanese tourist visa will be enough, in case you are required to have one to enter the country. Patients are supposed to take care of their own visas, travel and accommodation arrangements.

  • Pre-treatment ConsultationPre-treatment Consultation

    Pre-treatment Consultation

    Upon arrival to the clinic the patient undergoes MRI and X-ray scan and an examination by the physician in charge, who according to the final diagnose determines the most suitable treatment option, followed by a detailed explanation.

  • TreatmentTreatment


    Treatment is conducted under local anesthesia, and it takes about 15-60 minutes, depending on the treatment method and number of treated discs.

  • Same-Day DischargeSame-Day Discharge

    Same-Day Discharge

    After resting for 1~2 hours and receiving a post-operative check by the operating physician, the patient is discharged and free to return home.

  • 8

    Post-treatment Follow-up

    We will contact you periodically to monitor your recovery progress. You should also feel free to contact us if you are unsure about anything.

Treatment Costs for the PLDD Method

Locations Treated 1 disc 2 discs 3 discs 4 discs 5 discs
Cost of Treatment 308,000 Japanese Yen (JPY) 363,000 Japanese Yen (JPY) 418,000 Japanese Yen (JPY) 473,000 Japanese Yen (JPY) 528,000 Japanese Yen (JPY)
*If the procedure is performed in our hospital, all the costs of consultation, diagnosis, MRI and other tests will be included in the costs listed above.
*If the same treatment is performed again within 3 years of the first treatment, the treatment fees will be reduced by half.
*All taxes included.
*Since this method of treatment is not covered by health insurance, the patient must bear the entire cost of the treatment.
*In case of treatment only (one day treatment), We accept payment by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, China UnionPay).
*If you wish to request rehabilitation (specialized for back pain), bank transfer by credit card is also accepted.
*You can receive a tax refund at the time of filing your tax return for medical expenses.

Q&A about the PLDD method

  • question

    Is the PLDD method covered by the Japanese national health insurance?


    No, this procedure is not covered by the national health insurance.
    If you have a life insurance, you may be eligible. Please feel free to contact our staff for more information.

  • question

    Isn't there a risk that the laser in the PLDD procedure cuts my intervertebral disc?


    The laser beam is applied to a very limited area and will not sever the disc in any way.

  • question

    Can the PLDD method be used in association with DST and other treatments?


    Our clinic does not provide combined treatment. The PLDD method is based on the principle that the volume inside the intervertebral disc is reduced by cauterizing it with a laser, causing the herniated part to retract inside.
    On the other hand, the DST method has a different therapeutic purpose as its function is to repair and regenerate the disc. In any case, we will first perform a diagnosis of your current physical condition.

  • question

    Is it still possible to receive treatment if I have had a surgical procedure performed on a disc in the past?


    If the diagnosis established that you are eligible, then treatment is possible. Please visit our clinic first.

  • question

    Is rehabilitation necessary after treatment by the PLDD method?


    We recommend walking or light stretching after the treatment.
    Even if the PLDD method prevents the hernia from leaking, muscle stiffness and decline in muscle strength may cause an inflammatory reaction that can lead to a recurrence of the condition.
    Please make sure to exercise appropriately for prevention and to avoid recurrence.
    To this end, at our clinic, we work in association with a rehabilitation facility specialized in back pain rehabilitation. See below for details:
    ILM Lumbago Medical Fitness

5 Types of Outpatient Treatment for Low Back Pain

  • The DST Method (Discseel™)

    An intervertebral disc treatment that began in the United States in the 2010s. Can be suitable for a wide range of conditions, including problems in patients after surgery. It is the only (※2)treatment that can repair and regenerate intervertebral discs.
    ※2 According to research by Operation Japan (Ltd.)

    Click here for details.
  • The PIDD Method (Implant)

    An implant intervertebral disc treatment that has been conducted since the 2000s. As with PLDD, results without injury to intervertebral discs can be anticipated. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.
  • Hybrid Laser Treatment

    A treatment that combines the benefits of PLDD and PODD. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.
  • The PODD Method (Ozone)

    An ozone intervertebral disc treatment that has been conducted mainly in Europe since the 1990s. It can be suitable for a wide range of conditions.

    Click here for details.
  • The PLDD Method (Laser)

    An outpatient, laser intervertebral disc treatment that has been well known worldwide since the 1980s. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.