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All Posts Tagged: Intradiscal electrothermal


What Is Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy And How Does It Work?

This is a fairly new technique that is slightly invasive. It is performed in cases when patients experience chronic discogenic back pain. It is believed that the discogenic back pain takes place due to the intervertebral disc degeneration. As indicated by research, discogenic pain occurs somewhere in the range of 28% and 43% of back pain cases in the United States. Moreover, additional researches have demonstrated that discogenic pain is one of the main reasons for low back pain in the United States.

Numerous patients going through discogenic back pain respond to traditional treatment alternatives including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), exercise, and physical therapy. On the other hand, there are a few patients who fail to respond to these treatment strategies. Unfortunately, there are very few treatments accessible for patients amongst these traditional techniques and surgery. Nonetheless, intradiscal electrothermal therapy is a comparative traditionalist treatment strategy that can be offered to patients rather than surgical procedure.

How Does Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy Work?

As we age or due to an injury, the tears or cracks occur in the walls of the intervertebral disc. These tears can end up filled with small nerve endings and blood vessels, however, in some cases, this turns out to be chronic pain. In principle, the intradiscal electrothermal therapy works in a way to thicken and strengthen the disc wall by applying controlled heat to the disc wall.

To begin with the procedure, a small tube known as a catheter is inserted into the disc with fluoroscopic direction. The catheter is then moved to accomplish a 360-degree entrance. Heat is brought into the disc by means of the catheter, steadily advancing around 150° F to roughly 200° F. The whole intradiscal electrothermal therapy is performed on an outpatient premise and just requires around 60 minutes, with an extra hour of recuperation time.

A few patients state quick relief from discomfort, however, all things considered, noteworthy relief and improvement in function happen as the disc heals. This procedure, for the most part, takes four to twelve weeks. Patients usually come back to a basic routine within one week of the procedure. After around six weeks, progressively strenuous physical activity, in combination with a formal spinal- strengthening program, may start.

Conclusively, intradiscal electrothermal therapy is a generally conservative treatment alternative that is accessible to patients who go through discogenic pain that has been unsuccessful to respond to customary treatment techniques. Different research studies have demonstrated the safety and adequacy of this procedure and have demonstrated positive outcomes for the usage of this technique in patients experiencing discogenic pain.

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The new alternative to for back surgery

If you have lower back pain, trust me, you’re not alone! About 80 percent of adults undergo low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is most commonly caused by job-related disability and is a leading contributor of missed work days. In a recent survey held, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.

Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which definitely varies in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can set in motion unexpectedly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. Inactive lifestyles also can set the stage for low back pain, especially when a weekday routine of getting too little exercise is punctuated by exhausting weekend workout.

Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) is a minimally invasive treatment for chronic low back pain that results from certain types of painful degenerative disc disease or contained disc herniation. Successful IDET treatment may allow some patients to experience good or excellent pain relief without having to undergo major spinal surgery for disc removal and spinal fusion, or disc replacement.

The IDET treatment was first introduced in 1997 and has been performed extensively since then. The procedure involves inserting a catheter into the disc and heating it up. It takes about an hour and can be readily performed on an outpatient basis (with no overnight hospital stay). Several disc levels may be treated in a single session.

This is a fairly recent technique, FDA approved in 1998, developed for treatment of pain originating from a spinal disc. In the past, severe low back and leg pain caused by a defect in the spinal disc typically required surgery. Surgery frequently can “cure” the problem, but it may not improve the pain. Surgery is also very invasive, not to mention expensive. The IDET procedure was developed and designed with the goal of reducing pain with less invasive techniques, decreasing the risks of complications, and lessening the recovery time and expense.

There are minimal risks associated with IDET when it is performed by an experienced physician. Initially, it was thought that disc space infection, nerve root injury, post treatment disc degeneration or herniation, and post treatment increase in back pain were significant concerns. However, most published studies of IDET therapy have not reported any significant complications and the real risk of complications are now felt to be quite low.

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Dress up by your spinal disc wall with IDET

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy or IDET is a comparatively new procedure devised to manage chronic lower back pain. It is slightly invasive surgery that makes use of heat delivered through the electrical device straight to the problem areas of your spine. Sometimes scar tissue formation and excessively grown nerve fibers from injury or chronic illness can cause debilitating disc pain. The fibers and nerve network get pinched by the disc causing severe pain

IDET works heating the outer most covering of the damaged disc. The heat helps reduce the fibers within the disc and impairs the pain receptors. Patients have reported significant pain relief in as quickly as three days and it can last up to six months

What is actually Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy?

The slightly invasive procedure takes an hour and done on an outpatient basis. The procedure helps eliminate and manage lumbar back pain occur from a disease, injury or mild herniated disc. At the Pain Management Institute our Board Certified Anesthesiologist Dr Zaki Anwar. MD performs the procedure on an outpatient basis. During the procedure you can remain awake as he often uses local anesthesia and light sedation to minimize any discomfort. Discuss with your physician prior to the procedure about risk recovery and expectations. The detailed procedure is discussed in this blog, keep reading

Administering the needle

At The Pain Management Institute, we take advantage of the most modern technology to diagnose the precise point of the damaged disc in your spine. Once Dr. Zaki Anwar verifies the aimed point, he uses fluoroscopy X-ray imaging to administer a hollow needle straight to the disc

Inserting the heating wire

He then introduces the heating wire, that is an electrothermal catheter, with the needle steering it to precisely reach the damaged portion of the disc. You might not feel any pain at this point in the procedure

Dressing the disc wall

When the electrothermal catheter reached its aimed location, the power is turned on and the temperature of the wire is slowly increased to 90 degree Celcius. Dr. Zaki Anwar carefully monitors the process warming the damaged disc wall for about 15 to 20 minutes

Repairing the disc wall

The heat gradually shrinks and repairs the damage and torn disc wall area, it also slightly burns the nerve endings to make them less sensitive to pain. If you experience any pain during the procedure, it’s because of the heat applied to the disc


Dr. Zaki Anwar, MD removes the electrothermal catheter and needle within 15 to 20 minutes. The injection point is covered with a small bandage and you can return home the same day

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Get rid of your chronic back pain by Intradiscal electrothermal therapy

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is a slightly intrusive therapy for chronic low back pain that arise from certain type of  painful degenerated disc syndrome and disc herniation. The Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is also called IDET, after successful completion of Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy  most patients experience a potential reduction in pain without any surgery of disc removal and spinal fusion. The Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is carried by fusing a small tube called catheter directly into the disc and heating the disc. The whole procedure takes an hour to be completed, the process is done on an outpatient basis and many discs can be treated within  a single session

The process

The process of Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is initiated by an introductory discogram test in which the lower disc or discs that are considered the cause of back pain is scanned with the MRI and injected with a contrasting pigmentation, the examination helps identify the small tears and disc herniations in the back of the disc. Once the problematic disc is recognized the patient is taken to the procedure room and is allowed to lay face down on the examination table, a moderate sedation is given intravenously to make sure the patient feels comfortable during the entire process, a soft catheter is infused into the aimed disc under the guidance of an X-ray and placed into the correct position, the catheter is heated to 90 degree Celsius for 15 to 16 minutes. The catheter is removed and soon the disc is injected with local anesthetic and antibiotics to avoid any uneasiness and risk of infections

Soon after the procedure the patients are usually allowed to wear a lower back brace in the early recovery period, after two months of wearing braces the patients undergo four weeks of physical therapy including the exercises that strengthens the muscles of the lower back and are encouraged to carry on with the light routinely activities

Potential Risks and Complications with IDET

The risks are attached in very rare case to Intradiscal electrothermal therapy if performed by an expert physician, however the risks arise in very rare cases the risks might be easily controlled and include;

  • Disc space infection
  • Nerve root injury
  • Post treatment disc herniation
  • Worsened back pain

Contraindications to IDET

  • Obesity
  • Significant reliance on narcotic pain medications either before or after IDET treatment
  • Significant disc space narrowing
  • Large disc herniations
  • Diffuse disc degeneration
  • Three or more symptomatic discs

In case you or any of your loved one is suffering from any chronic back pain and looking for a safe and cost-effective treatment, get a professional advice from Dr. Zaki Anwar by placing an appointment at 815-464-7212. He is a world renowned Pain Medicine Physician who has been practicing regenerative injection therapies for the past several years with remarkable results.

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