Minimally Invasive Low Back Pain Treatment: IDET

Intradiscal Electrothermoplasty or IDET is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat lumbar discogenic pain, or pain caused by a bulging low back disc. IDET helps reduce nerve impingement and pain caused by a bulging intervertebral disc.

Before IDET is Performed

Discography is performed to detect exactly which disc or discs are causing pain. During discography, the doctor is able to evaluate your condition and determine if you are a candidate for the IDET procedure.

About the IDET Procedure

Intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty therapy (IDET) is a minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure performed by our doctor to treat patients with chronic back pain originating from their lumbar disc. The procedure is performed most commonly on patients with one identified disc as the cause of their back pain. This procedure is offered as a minimally invasion option to single level spinal fusion.

To begin with, you must fit the criteria to be considered for this procedure. The IDET procedure involves passing a flexible catheter through a needle into your painful disc. Wires inside the catheter then heat the disc wall, toughening as well as desensitizing the disc, resulting in the loss of your pain. Before an IDET procedure, you will be given a sedative and a local anesthetic. Using “live” X-ray imaging (fluoroscopy), a doctor inserts a hollow needle containing a flexible catheter and heating element into the spinal disc. The catheter is positioned in a circle around the inside of the disc, and is then slowly heated to 90°C. The heat is meant to kill the nerve fibers and toughen the disc tissue, sealing any small tears. Antibiotics will be given preoperatively prophylactically. You should not experience discomfort from the intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty (IDET) procedure.

Complications are rare and may include infection, nerve damage, or disc damage.


After the procedure, your vital signs are monitored and you are given a back support (or brace) to wear for several weeks. The first few days after your procedure, you should rest and avoid twisting movement or lifting anything heavy.

Pain relief is usually not immediate as healing takes time. It is not unusual for patients to experience increased pain the first few days after IDET is performed. Your doctor will prescribe or recommend pain medication as needed.

Shortly after the procedure you will begin physical therapy to reduce pain, increase flexibility, and build strength. Gentle stretches and walking is encouraged. Activity is gradually increased.

To Learn More About the Procedure

If you are interested in an and evaluation for IDET (intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty) to manage your pain or treat your back pain, the spine doctors of the The Spine and Pain Institute of New York in Manhattan, New York and Staten Island, New York, we would be happy to see you for a consultation and help you learn about the treatment options available to you.