My husband just came out of surgery for a herniated disc. The surgeon did a discectomy and said the nerve was pulsing beautifully before they finished the operation. What does that mean?
There are blood vessels along the nerve root that pulse with each heart beat. For a successful nerve root decompression, the surgeon must be able to see the nerve root pulsing freely. That indicates the decompression has been complete.

This is important in decompression procedures for both disc herniation and for spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve root opening). Removing disc material pressing on the nerve root is the goal of nerve root decompression. Restoring blood flow to the area at the same time helps with the healing process.

In the case of spinal stenosis, interruption of blood supply is the major problem. In both cases, restoring free arterial blood flow is a good endpoint for decompression.