Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) is a procedure where heat is used to treat spinal discs in a minimally invasive manner. A catheter is used to deliver thermal energy directly to the outer disc wall (annulus) and inner disc contents (nucleus) via a heating coil. Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is designed to reduce the pain receptors in the disc, change the structure of the disc material, and finally, cauterize the new nerves and blood vessels that have grown into the degenerated disc(s). Although uncommon, risks of intradiscal electrothermal therapy may include spinal headache, nerve root injury, loss of bowel or bladder control, disc infection and very rarely, paralysis.

Last reviewed July 2013 by APM's Medical Executive Committee.