Intradiskal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a novel, minimally invasive procedure designed to relieve back pain caused by degeneration to the discs in the lower back. Discs are tiny cushions between each vertebra in the spine. As one ages, these discs may develop cracks or breaks in the outer disc wall. Blood vessels and pain fibers grow into the area in an attempt to repair the damage. These small pain fibers may be the sources of chronic back pain.
IDET allows the physician to apply heat with a special catheter to the damaged disc wall. The heat produces contraction of the collagen in the disc wall. This will seal the cracks in the outer disc wall and allow the collagen to remodel its structure.
Your physician will do a careful history and physical examination and may order diagnostic tests to determine whether this procedure is suitable for you. The exact location of the problem must be determined in advance. Usually, an MRI of the lumbar spine and a discography (injection of dye into the disc) are necessary to precisely locate the source of the pain.