IDET is a minimally invasive procedure in which a needle is guided via fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to the precise location of a damaged disc. Once the needle is in place, a catheter made of thermal resistive coil is threaded into the needle and into the disc. The catheter is heated, causing the collagen within the disc to contract, effectively reducing the herniation and improving the internal structural integrity of the disc. It also seals any fissures in the disc’s outer covering (annulus) and desensitizes the tiny nerves that are associated with that disc.
Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) is a minimally invasive treatment for spinal disc related chronic low back pain. This type of persistent disc pain is thought to be caused by nerve fibers that have grown from their normal location in the outer layers (annulus), or from an injury to the disc, causing the material in the middle of the disc (nucleus pulposus) to move into the outer layers of the disc (annulus) where nerves are, causing pain. Under x-ray guidance a thin flexible catheter is introduced into the problematic disc, and heats up. The proposed mechanism is that the heat causes contraction of the collagen fibers that may seal up painful tears and destruction of the painful nerve fibers, and stimulation of new collagen formation.