The IDET ( Intradiscal Electrothermal Annuloplasty) provides and alternative to other surgical procedures for people suffering from back pain caused by certain types of disc problems.

It’s a fairly advanced procedure now and is made possible by the development of eletrothermal catheters that allow for careful and accurate temperature control. It is thought to decrease pain by cauterizing the nerve endings within the disc wall to help block the pain signals. Although no guarantee was made to me that this would be successful they felt it appropriate at the time to try and help ease some of my pain.

The actual procedure only takes about an hour to complete and is performed with a local anaesthetic and mild intravenous sedation. A needle is inserted into the painful lumber disc space using a portable xray machine and a heating wire is then passed through the needle and positioned along the back inner wall of the disc. The catheter tip is then slowly heated up to 90 degrees Celsius for minutes and then the heat contracts and thickens the collagen fibers promoting closure of the tears and cracks. Nerve tears are burned which makes then less sensitive. The needles is then removed and after a short stay the patient then goes home.

I then had to wear a lumber support corset for 6 – 8 weeks with quite an in-depth guideline for activity. Returning to work could take up to six months depending on what type of job you had, i.e. heavy work had to be avoided for 5 to 6 months but after 14 days you could resume sedentary work.

You had to lie rather than sit after the surgery and gradually increase your sitting as the weeks went by and bending was to be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately for me the procedure did not work but it was a chance I took with it being such a minimally invasive technique. However some people have had great success especially if they have not had any other type of spinal surgery before.


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