Intradiskal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET)

Intradiskal Electrothermal Annuloplasty or Therapy (IDET) is a minimally invasive procedure for spinal disc-related chronic low back pain. It works by cauterizing the nerve endings within the disc wall to help block the pain signals and give relief to the patient.

Ideal candidate for IDET

As this procedure is quite new, its success mainly depends upon the selection of right candidate. The ideal patients for IDET include the following:

  • Chronic low back pain

  • Painful and mild degenerative disc disease

  • Contained disc herniation

  • Internal disc tears

  • Patients with no relief even after at least 6 months of conservative (nonsurgical) treatment

Contraindications for IDET

  • Severe disc degeneration

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Neurological symptoms (such as leg weakness)

  • Spinal instability

  • Large disc herniations


It is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in outpatient setting with no need of hospitalization under local anaesthetic and mild intravenous sedation. It starts with insertion of a hollow introducer needle into the painful disc space under X-ray guidance. This is followed by insertion of an electrothermal catheter through the needle into the disc and heating it up to 90 degrees Celsius for 15-17 minutes. This heat contracts and thickens the collagen fibres and also burns (cautery) the nerve endings. All this makes the nerves less sensitive to pain and gives relief to the patient. Catheter is later removed and patient is discharged after brief observation period.

It takes about an hour and multiple discs can be treated in a single session.

Result of IDET

Ideal selection of patient can make the procedure a success and gives following results:

  • Patients experience good or excellent pain relief

  • Reduces or eliminated the need of any major spinal surgery for disc removal and spinal fusion, or disc replacement

  • Diminished usage of pain medications

  • Increased activity level and improved sitting tolerance