This minimally-invasive procedure is designed to alleviate the effects of low back pain caused by disc disease or small disc herniations. The IDET procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The patient is awake during the hour-long procedure that uses local anesthesia and a mild sedative to reduce discomfort.
After the affected disc level is located, the surgeon uses live x-ray imaging to guide a hollow needle into the disc.
Heating Wire Inserted
An electrothermal catheter, or heating wire, is then inserted through the needle and maneuvered to find the diseased portion of the disc.
Disc Wall Treated
The temperature of the heating catheter is slowly increased to about 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius), raising the temperature of the damaged disc wall.
The heat shrinks and repairs the tears in the disc wall area. Small nerve endings are also cauterized, or burned, to make them less sensitive. The patient may feel some pain during the procedure, which is an indication that the heat is being applied to the appropriate area.
End of Procedure
The catheter and needle are removed. The insertion area in the skin is covered with a small bandage.