IDET? You Bet
Low back pain caused by disc problems that lasts more than six months is common and hard to treat. There isn't one best method of treatment. Treatment usually begins with medication and physical therapy. Most people get better with this treatment. For those who don't, surgery to remove the disc and fuse the vertebrae above and below the problem disc is one option.
However, this type of surgery isn't always successful, so doctors continue to look for other ways to treat this problem. Intradiscal electrothermal treatment (IDET) is one of those options. IDET is a way to heat the disc to a high temperature (140-150 degrees). This breaks down the tissue, allowing it to grow back together again for better healing.
The success of IDET is measured by increased sitting times, improved physical function, and decreased pain. Quality of life improvement is another way to measure the effect of IDET. A positive change in all these areas is seen with most people having IDET. As evidenced in this study, changes continue to improve for up to two years after the treatment.
IDET is a treatment option for some patients with low back pain caused by a disc problem. When treatment has failed and surgery to fuse the problem area of the spine is the next step, IDET has been shown to decrease pain and improve function. Patients are carefully selected for this treatment. Continued improvement for two years after the treatment makes this a possible choice. Long-term results of IDET (beyond two years) haven't been studied yet.
Jeffrey A. Saal, MD, and Joel S. Saal, MD. Intradiscal Electrothermal Treatment for Chronic Discogenic Low Back Pain. A Prospective Outcome Study With a Minimum 2-year Follow-Up. In Spine. May 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 9. Pp. 966-974.