NY Spine Medicine

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Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to treat patients with chronic low back pain that is caused by tears or small herniations of the lumbar discs.

Procedure Preparation

If you are a candidate for this procedure we will discuss this option with you at you initial visit in our office. If you make the decision to have the procedure, you will schedule an appointment with our staff at a local hospital

Please bring any previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, x-rays) such as films, reports, or CD-ROMs to your initial appointment. If you do not have current images, we may refer you to have them done prior to the procedure.

If you come by car, you will need a driver to take you home after your appointment. If you have IV sedation you will need an adult to be with you for 12 hours after the procedure.

Please notify our physician if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.

Please be prepared to discuss any medications that you are currently on with our physician, or bring your medication bottles with you to your initial appointment.

During the Procedure

IDET is generally performed in a local surgery center, where we're able to offer IV sedation and monitoring by a nurse.

You will lie on your stomach on a cushioned table. The physician will numb a small area of skin using a local anesthetic, which will sting for several seconds.

A cannula (hollow needle) is placed into the lumbar disc under x-ray-guidance (fluoroscopy).

An electrothermal catheter (heating wire) is passed through the needle and positioned in the disc where it is heated causing cauterization and decompression of the disc material.

This treatment can contract the fibers making up the disc wall, closing any tears and burning the tiny nerve endings in the disc making them less sensitive to pain.

The catheter is removed along with the needle and, after a short period of observation, the patient goes home.

After the Procedure

You will be provided activity and rehabilitation guidelines.

Supervision is necessary for the remainder of the day due to the effects of sedation.

A lumbar support is worn for 6 to 8 weeks.

Lifting and bending precautions are necessary for 6 to 8 weeks to allow for adequate healing of the disc.

Increased symptoms may occur for 7-10 days due to procedure.

Prescription medications may be given to relieve these symptoms. You will complete a physical therapy program to strengthen your back and core muscles. Physical therapy is a key part of  maximizing your recovery.

Possible side effects

Complications are rare. Keep a record of any symptoms following the procedure and report them to your physician at the time of the follow-up visit, usually 7 to 14 days after the procedure.