Percutaneous excision of a herniated or displaced INTERVERTEBRAL DISC by posterolateral approach, always remaining outside the spinal canal. Percutaneous nucleotomy was first described by Hijikata in Japan in 1975. In 1985 Onik introduced automated percutaneous nucleotomy which consists in percutaneous aspiration of the nucleus pulposus. It is carried out under local anesthesia, thus reducing the surgical insult and requiring brief hospitalization, often performed on an outpatient basis. It appears to be a well-tolerated alternative to surgical diskectomy and chymopapain nucleolysis.