Electrothermal Catheter Therapy: During the Procedure

X-ray of spine showing catheters in two disks.

An electrothermal therapy procedure may take up to 2 hours. During the procedure, you’ll be awake but relaxed. That way, you can answer the healthcare provider's questions about what you are feeling.

Starting the procedure

Here is what to expect: 

  • You lie on your stomach or side.

  • You have an IV (intravenous) line to give you fluids and medicine. This includes a sedative to help you relax.

  • Your heart and blood pressure are monitored.

  • Your back is cleaned and covered with sterile drapes.

  • Medicine is given to numb the area.

  • The needle is placed through your skin into the disk. Then the catheter is inserted through it into the disk.

Your experience

Throughout the procedure, your healthcare provider will ask whether you feel leg pain. This is to make sure that the catheter is not too close to certain nerves. During the procedure you may feel pain in your back. Telling your healthcare provider how you feel helps him or her control any pain you may experience. If you are in pain, your healthcare provider may heat the catheter more slowly or to a lower temperature. When the heating is finished, the catheter is removed. Antibiotics may be injected into the disk to prevent infection. Then the needle is removed.