What is Known About Outcomes for IDET? (Research Article)

Long term outcome studies are not yet available but are in progress. Joel Saal, M.D., and Jeff Saal, M.D., the inventors and owners of the technology, have recently completed a few small, short-term studies for IDET. One study included 62 patients, the other included 32 patients, and both had a one-year follow-up period.

These studies have shown that approximately 70% to 80% of patients are satisfied with the procedure. General areas of improvement include:

  • Most of these patients report an increased activity level and improved sitting tolerance
  • The usage of pain medication seems to be diminished
  • Improvement is frequently noted within a few days of the procedure but may take up to 6 to 8 weeks to be noticed. Improvement may continue for 4 to 6 months
  • Results so far suggest that most people who feel significant improvement after one year continue to do well at two years of follow-up.
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Several factors seem to help predict a successful outcome, including:

  • Single level disc disease
  • Good catheter placement at the time of the procedure
  • Absence of secondary gain issues (such as financial gain from pending litigation or workers compensation).

This last factor - secondary gain - clearly impacts the outcome of all spinal procedures.

Studies are underway to determine the long-term effect of IDET on the appearance of the disc on MRI imaging.

Potential Risks and Complications of IDET

IDET is a very safe procedure with a very low risk for complications. Disc space infection and nerve injury are seen less than 1% of the time. No serious complications have yet been reported.

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