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Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) for Disc-Related Low Back Pain

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Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a controversial, minimally invasive treatment for chronic low back pain related to a spinal disc.

Before an IDET procedure, you are given a sedative and a local anesthetic. Using "live" X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy), a doctor inserts a hollow needle containing a thin flexible tube (catheter) and heating element into the spinal disc. The catheter is positioned in a circle around the inside of the disc, and is then slowly heated to about 194 °F (90 °C). The heat is meant to kill the nerve fibers and toughen the disc tissue, sealing any small tears. Antibiotics, either given into a vein (intravenous) or injected into the disc, are used to prevent a disc infection.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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