Sciatica Pain Relief Through IDET – New Sciatica Treatment Method

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IDET for Sciatica Pain Relief

The IDET, which stands for Intradiscal Electrothermoplasty, is a relatively new procedure for the treatment of sciatica pain. Used in some cases where sciatica pain becomes unbearable and cannot be treated using conventional methods, IDET is known to offer quick relief. As is already known, sciatic pain is an indirect result of a herniated disc. After a disc herniates, the liquid content in this it causes a bulge, and this goes on to press the nerve, resulting in immense pain at times. The surgery, thereafter, causes the disc to dry up quickly, usually in about 20 minutes. This is in wide contrast to the normal method of healing, which may take weeks or even months before the disc completely dries off.
IDET typically involves the use of an X-ray machine. Using this machine, a needle is then guided through the herniated disc. The needle acts as the carrier for a wire which goes into the disc. This wire goes deep into the disc, until it encircles the interiors of the annulus. The next step involves the heating of the wire, and this leads to the destruction of the nerve fibers that typically grow within the cracks and overtake the damaged disc. Additionally, the annulus in the body is also affected slightly by the generated heat. This stimulates the natural response of the body to regenerate proteins in these fibers.

IDET for Sciatica Pain Relief

The Effectiveness of IDET

IDET, although treated relatively new, was introduced in the medical world sometime back during the 1990’s. Several small studies have been conducted for its evaluation since then, although large scale studies proved a little daunting to carry out because not many patients met the requirement specifications of the surgery. Nevertheless, research carried out on most subjects has proven IDET to be an effective as well as a safe method of treatment for sciatic pain, only on grounds that a patient meets the criteria to undergo the surgery. However, there have been cases where IDET has been known to work no better than a mere option to relieve one of back pain. The results in both studies largely vary, and this makes room for more extensive research in the procedure.

How IDET is carried out

Should I Go for IDET?

There are some requirements a patient must fulfill before he or she is treated using IDET. Typically, these include:

  • The ineffectiveness of non-surgical treatment methods such as medications or even spinal injections
  • The patient is not more than 55 years of age
  • The degenerated disc lies within your annulus fibrosus
  • The height of the damaged disc exceeds 50%
  • Discography shows positive results for the treatment of discogenic pain
  • The intensity of your back pain is more than that caused by the pain in your leg
  • You do not face facet joint issues

Before Your IDET Procedure

It is imperative that you obtain a health clearance certificate from your doctor before you undergo IDET. This certificate implies that your doctor knows about your health conditions and agrees to you going for the surgery. However, your doctor may recommend certain tests before signing the certificate, and these tests largely include blood tests, X-rays and other tests to examine the possibilities of other health problems.

Potential Risks of Undergoing IDET

IDET is associated with minimal risks, and there are but a very few potential complications of the surgery. Nevertheless, potential risks of IDET include infection in discs, injury in the nerve root and increased intensity of back pain.

The IDET Procedure

IDET is ideally performed as an outpatient treatment. Your doctor will give you a local anesthetic, although a mild intravenous sedative is also usually administered. The process then involves the insertion of a catheter into the affected disc. This catheter is hollow and flexible, and fluoroscopy is made use of in the process to guide it. Largely resembling a thermal coil, the catheter also inherits its heating properties. Heating of this element results in a shrinking disc, which also affects the free nerve endings. These are burned, and small tears become sealed. Lastly, the process triggers the human body to generate protein for strengthening of the disc.

Post IDET Surgery

Once the surgery has taken place, the patient is moved out from the surgical area and is admitted to the recovery room. The hospital staffs observe his or her vital signs for effective post-operative pain management. It is only natural for the patient to experience some discomfort during the initial recovery phase. Resulting pain usually targets the incision site, although one may also experience pain in the back muscle. It is important to note here that these are not only the only symptoms, and the patient may experience pain in other areas of the body. Usage of a lumbar brace is also typically prescribed.

Recovering From IDET – Home Treatment

It is not unnatural for your symptoms to reoccur, and this time in greater intensity, during the first few days after your surgery. Additionally, your doctor will prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and may also suggest the use of some over-the-counter medications. In addition to these, most doctors also suggest:

  • The use of your lumbar braces for the next six weeks
  • Physical therapy, although this must be started not less than 8-12 weeks after your surgery, depending on how your body has responded to the prescribed medications
  • Refraining from bending or lifting anything

Expectations after the Surgery

IDET does in no way offer immediate pain relief. On the contrary and as already mentioned above, a patient may feel discomfort and increased pain after the first few days of the surgery. Physical therapy, therefore, is a recommended and important part of the recovery procedure. Your therapist will encourage you to walk and perform some easy stretches after about a month of undergoing IDET. It is best to perform all the exercises as directed by your doctor, and also refrain from performing activities such as lifting, bending or sitting for a prolonged period.

Additionally, people who have undergone IDET are recommended to stay away from strenuous sports like tennis, skiing or even running for a minimum of 5-6 months after the surgery.

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