IDET for sciatica is a minimally invasive surgery formally named intradiscal electrothermal therapy or intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty. Like all surgical procedures, this technique should only be considered once all conservative sciatica treatment options have failed, since even the least traumatic of operations still demonstrate significant health risks.
This essay will provide an overview of intradiscal electrothermal therapy and its multiple applications for treating sciatica. We will examine the benefits of treatment, as well as the potential shortcomings.
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure and sometimes completed right in the doctor’s office. It is one of the most common and well-tolerated minimally invasive disc-related operations.
The surgeon will make a small incision in the back and insert a thin catheter into the herniated disc. The catheter is heated in order to burn off some of the internal nucleus pulposus which is placing stress on the bulging disc wall.
This procedure will remove enough nucleus material to shrink the disc back into a more typical size and shape and hopefully resolve any problematic pinched nerve or spinal stenosis condition the bulge was creating. The operation takes less than 1 hour and the patient can go home immediately to begin recovery.
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is only used for patients with herniated disc-enacted radicular pain. More specifically, the disc herniation must be contained, since this technique will not work well with ruptured discs or discs with a significant annular tear.
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy is truly minimally invasive, but is still a surgical procedure and does have inherent risks, including infection, poor results, nerve damage and spinal fluid leaks. Let is be known however, that serious complications are very rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified surgeon, for indicated conditions.
IDET is also used to treat pain theorized to exist due to small nerves finding their way into a damaged disc through tiny annular tears. However, this application is used for back pain, not sciatica, since the minute tissues involved can not possibly enact any symptoms except localized pain, if any expression at all.
Compared to other full open operations, intradiscal electrothermal therapy is a good option for patients suffering verified sciatica pain from an intact bulging disc.
I do like the nucleoplasty procedure a bit more, even though it is less common. I just believe it to be a more accurate surgical technique, which generally produces slightly more positive and predictable results.
I do not recommend sciatica surgery of any kind to any patient who can avoid it. This includes such minor procedures as intradiscal electrothermal therapy. There is simply no need to treat virtually any disc condition surgically and the majority of diagnosed disc problems are not even the actual cause of pain in many individuals. It is vital that preoperative patients are completely sure that the disc is truly pathological, or they are unlikely to see any benefit from the procedure.
All these factors make surgery a tough line to cross when it comes to deciding on an appropriate sciatica therapy modality.