Betting against IDET
In 1999, a new treatment for low back pain caused by disc disease was introduced. It's called intradiscal electrothermal treatment) (IDET). IDET involves inserting a needle into the center of the disc. The needle is equipped with a heating coil that raises the temperature of the disc to 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The idea behind IDET is that heat can destroy tissue. In this case, the part of the cell that registers pain is destroyed. At the same time, the tissue around the disc shrinks and tightens up. This area is called the outer annulus.

Studies must be done whenever a new treatment is tried. This means repeating the same research and comparing the results. When a treatment method works, other doctors in other centers can repeat this success.

Two doctors in the Netherlands used IDET with 20 patients. Results were measured after six months. Several variables were measured such as pain, physical and social function, and overall health. There was some improvement in pain, but no other changes. The authors feel that there isn't enough pain relief with IDET.

These doctors suggest that the actual temperature increase in the disk is limited with IDET. It's probably not enough, the believe, to destroy cells or shrink tissue. According to the results of this study, patients may still have low back pain after IDET. Because of the method of needle insertion, only patients with mild disc disease can have this treatment.
M. Spruit and W. C. H. Jacobs. Pain and Function After Intradiscal Electrothermal Treatment (IDET) For Symptomatic Lumbar Disc Degeneration. In European Spine Journal. December 2002. Vol. 11. No. 6. Pp. 589-593.