IDET, or intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty, is a technique that uses heat to treat an intervertebral disc that has experienced a small herniation or tear. IDET involves inserting a catheter, or heating wire, into the affected disc. The wire is heated to a temperature of about 194 degrees Fahrenheit to shrink and repair the torn disc wall, as well as cauterize inflamed nerve endings in the disc.
Your vertebrae allow the spine to flex, rotate, twist, and extend freely thanks to the help of its spongy, round discs located between each vertebrae. These discs have a tough outer layer, or annulus fibrosus, that surrounds an inner gel-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. If the disc tears, fluids from inside the disc can leak out and irritate nerves located in the annulus fibrosus, causing pain that’s localized to the disc itself.
In approximately 50-60% of the cases, IDET can help patients manage pain caused by a damaged intervertebral disc. IDET is considered when a patient meets the following criteria:
- Disc pain in the lower back for at least three months
- Nonsurgical treatments have been followed for at least three months
- Confirmed abnormal disc
- Positive discogram
Intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty, or IDET, takes about an hour and is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic. No hospitalization is required, and after a brief observation period, the patient is allowed to go home. Most patients, however, continue to experience pain for several weeks, and physical therapy is required during the healing process. Precautions regarding lifting and bending may be necessary for a few weeks and strenuous activities are prohibited for at least 5-6 months.
IDET might be appropriate for small disc herniations, but this procedure is not suitable for issues that go beyond the disc wall – such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. If you are suffering from chronic back or neck pain, and you aren’t responding to standard rehabilitation, you may be a candidate for more progressive treatments. Thankfully, there are other options available for pain relief including the state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. LSI’s revolutionary treatments can help to regain your quality of life. Contact us today for a free MRI or CT scan review, and to learn more information about our institute.