IntraDiscal ElectroThermal (IDET) is done for patients with low back pain (LBP) only (or primarily LBP and minimal leg pain) that have Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD). The IDET allows application of controlled levels of thermal energy (heat) to the damaged section of a disc. This thermal therapy may result in contracture or closure of the disc fissures or a reduction of a bulging disk and may modulate nerve endings within the disc fissures. If you have LBP and a suspect disc is seen on x-ray, MRI, or CT, a Discography (see video) may be performed to help confirm the suspect disc is the source of your low back pain.

The Discogram not only informs us that the disk is hurting but will also tell us if the disk has a tear or fissure. Again, these fissures may be the source of pain. Studies have shown that nerves and blood vessels grow into these fissures. These fissures are thus felt to be the source of pain due to chemical irritation of the nerves as well as mechanical/stress changes of the disks onto these nerves.

DDD is commonly treated by open surgery and doing a fusion, which also immobilizes that disk segment. IDET is an alternative, minimally invasive outpatient procedure done entirely through a needle. Thus, you avoid a general anesthetic; avoid an open surgery; avoid a hospital stay; and you avoid immobilizing a level of your spine.

The IDET is done in our state-of-the-art outpatient ambulatory surgery center located right here in Pain Care Boise. The procedure is done with local anesthetic only or with light sedation. The needle is placed with x-ray guidance. The ElectroThermal treatment catheter is then placed inside your disk, again with the aid of x-ray guidance. The heating element is activated, slowly increasing over approximately 15 minutes. You will leave the recovery area with only a band-aid.

For more information or to make an appointment, contact us at (208) 342-8200.

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